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Cliff Castles and Cave Dwellings 
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By S. Baring-Gould, M.A., Author 
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Seventeen Years Among the Sea 

Dyaks of Borneo. 
A Record of Intimate Association 
with the Natives of the Bornean Jun- 
gles. By Edwin H. Gomes, M.A., 
Author of " The Sea Dyaks of Borneo," 
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191 I 











WITH the establishment of Rajah Brooke's govern- 
ment in Sarawak, the different races of its native 
population gradually became known to English 
people, and at length the Dyakland of Borneo has found 
a definite place and shape in the English mind, much 
as the Zululand of Africa has done. The Sea Dyak soon 
appeared in print ; travellers mentioned him, sometimes 
only as a simple savage ; men who have spent some 
time in the country, like the late Sir Hugh Low and 
the late Sir Spenser St. John, described something of 
his life ; missionary reports had him in their pages ; 
European residents and civil administrators and others 
wrote of him in various papers and periodicals. But 
most, if not all, of these accounts were unavoidably 
brief, partial, and sketchy, for it did not come 
within the scope of their purpose to set forth a full and 
systematic statement of all things Dyak. Mr. Ling Roth 
collected all the notes about Dyaks he could find, from 
various sources, and published his harvest of accumula- 
tions in two large volumes. It is a monument of in- 
dustrious collecting ; but his work is that of the scissors 
rather than of the pen, a compilation rather than a 
writing ; and in the extracts, being the productions of 
various writers at different periods, we see much over- 
lapping and repetition, and some confusion ; and, neces- 
sarily, such a book was too bulky to obtain a general 
circulation. More recently Miss Eda Green has given 


to English readers a little book about Borneo, wonderful 
in its general accuracy, and vivid in its descriptions ; 
but it is meant especially for missionary circles and mis- 
sionary reading — in fact, it was written expressly for the 
Borneo Mission Association, whose objects it has done 
much to promote. But it is a book about the Mission 
rath or than about the Dyaks, and it does not profess to 
give a complete account of the entire field of Sea Dyak 

This is Mr. Gomes's object, and he attains it. His book 
s not a mere personal narrative of life in Sarawak. We 
have in it a very full, systematic, and comprehensive de- 
scription of Sea Dyak life — its works, thoughts, sentiments, 
superstitions, customs, religion, beliefs, and ideals. Our 
attention is not directed to the magnificent beauties of 
Bornean tropical scenery and luxuriant flora, nor to the 
wonders of the insect life with which the land simply 
abounds. ]\Ir. Gomes sees Dyaks, and Dyaks only, in his 
mind. The " brown humanity " of the country, not its 
natural history, occupies his attention. He knows that 
humanity intimately, and writes from the storehouse 
which he has accumulated in long years of experience and 
observation. And he puts all within manageable compass 
and volume. His book is, I believe, the first which 
contains a complete picture of Sea Dyak life in all its 
phases, yet in moderate dimensions. And from my own 
experience of some twenty years in Sarawak, I can 
testify to the truthfulness of every page. 

Possibly it is sometimes thought that the missionary 
is not the best man to write about the people to whom 
he appeals ; that he may be easily biassed in one direction 
or another, and may think too ill or too well of them, 
and may allow his judgment to be overcoloured by his 
religious purpose. A little experience among the people 
of any race, especially where the language is not well 


known, may easily result in limited views and imperfect 
conceptions. But when his residence has extended over 
many years, and he knows the language as well as his 
own ; when he has had constant opportunities of ob- 
serving their tone and conduct in every relation of life, 
and of hearing how they talk and think on every imagin- 
able subject, and of seeing how they behave at home as 
well as abroad — how they bear themselves, not only to 
an occasional white man whom they meet, but also 
to each other in social dealings — when he thus lives 
in close touch with them at every point, he cannot but 
obtain a thorough understanding of the realities of their 

And the Sea Dyaks are generally a very communica- 
tive people. They will willingly give information about 
every belief and custom, and wUl quietly discuss every 
practice and evei»y event, good or bad ; and it needs only 
a little patience and sympathy to enable one to get an 
insight into the working of their minds, and to realize 
the true character of their actions in the struggles, the 
comedies, or the tragedies of their lives. 

Mr. Gomes is thus able to make the Sea Dyak live 
before us in genuine colours. We can see this dusky 
son of the jungle in his beliefs and fears, which are many, 
in his work and in his play, in his ugly faults and amiable 
virtues, in his weaknesses and in his abilities. And I 
think that everyone who reads his pages will feel that 
henceforth he knows the Sea Dyak of Sarawak better 
than he ever knew him before, and will come to the con- 
clusion that, in spite of his faults, he is a very likeable 

The Sea Dyaks, then, are worth knowing. They con- 
stitute a very valuable element in the population of 
Sarawak, not only from their numbers, but also from 
their force of character. They are active, hardworking, 


industrious, ready to earn an honest penny when they 
have the chance ; and in their domestic relations are 
amiable and hospitable towards strangers, and when 
treated with civility and sympathy, all their good points 
come to the surface. They work hard at rice-planting, 
which, it is true, is of a very primitive sort, but it is the 
best they know, and as good as that practised by their 
Mohammedan neighbours, the Malays. If some simple 
system of irrigation could be introduced among them, 
especially m lowland cultivation, this, their main in- 
dustry, would be far more productive than it is, and it 
would be a real boon to the country at large. They have 
adventured upon the cultivation of other products when 
the way has been made clear to them, which is an evidence 
of their capacity for progress. They penetrate and 
traverse far-off jungles in search of mdiarubber and 
gutta-percha to add to their earnings. An increasing 
number of them are keen upon book-learning, as Mr. 
Gomes points out. They form the Rajah's soldiers and 
guards, and are capable of useful service in subordinate 
positions as officers. And thus these people, who were 
once only known as fighters, pirates, and head-takers, 
are now a real influence in the evolution of a better 
civilization and a more fruitful era to come in those lands. 
The civilizing. Christianizing force no doubt works 
slowly ; but there it is, and, comparing present with 
past, we can see it. A large influx of white people of 
the usual colonist class would doubtless be too strong 
for them, and would push them out of the way ; but 
with a favourable chance, which they now have, of work- 
ing out a salvation for themselves, I think the Sea Dyaks 
have a better future before them than Mr. Gomes appears 
to anticipate. 

It is interesting to watch the process of a gradual 
enlightening going on among such a race when brought 


into contact with higher civilization and better religion. 
Mr. Gomes mentions some instances of its expression. 
Perhaps I may add an illustrative instance which occurred 
in my own experiences, many years ago. One night I 
was at anchor with a Dyak crew on the Saribas River, 
waiting for the turn of the tide. About 3 a.m. I was 
awakened by a frightened cry from one of the crew : 
" Antu ! antu !" (A spirit, a spirit!). Thinking myself 
lucky at last in a chance of actually seeing one of those 
invisible beings whom Dyaks dread so much, I pushed 
my head from under the mosquito-curtain, and looked 
out, and beheld a comet brightly shining not far above 
the horizon. Presently I heard a school-lad say : " That's 
not a spirit ; it's only a star with a tail. I have learnt 
about it." There was the old superstition and the new 
knowledge struggling together, a symbol of what is going 
on in other departments of Dyak thought and belief — the 
working of that which, it is to be hoped, will issue in a 
higher and an improved life for the race. Our Author's 
book will evoke a lively interest in such an improvement 
in Dyakland, and will inspire a deeper sympathy with 
every progressive effort towards it. 

In going over Mr. Gomes's pages my thoughts have 
often gone back to days, now long past, when he and I 
were workers together among the people of whom he 
writes so sympathetically, and many a long-forgotten 
incident has come back to mind ; and it is a pleasure to 
write a simple word of welcome to this product of his 
pen, and to express a conviction that his book is just 
what was wanted to give the public a clear and adequate 
conception of one of the leading races which have been 
ruled over by the " Two White Rajahs " of Sarawak. 

December, 1910. 


I WISH to express my thanks to Sir Clement Kinloch- 
Cooke, M.P., for allowing me to reproduce my 
translations of Sea Dyak legends which appeared 
in the Em'pire Review ; to Bishop Hose, under whom 
I worked for seventeen years among the Sea Dyaks 
of Sarawak, for allowing me to use his excellent article 
on " The Contents of a Dyak Medicine-chest "; to the 
Rev. John Perham, formerly Archdeacon of Singapore, 
with whom I worked in Sarawak for some years, for his 
introduction, and also for allowing me to make use of 
the scholarly papers which he wrote for the Journal of 
the Straits Branch of the Asiatic Society, on Sea Dyak 
Religion and Folklore ; and to the Rev. David Steele- 
Morris for going through the manuscript and making 
many useful suggestions. 

I am indebted to His Highness the Rajah of Sarawak 
for permission to insert his portrait ; to Dr. Charles Hose 
for his great kindness in allowing me to use his excellent 
photographs, and also to the Society for the Propagation 
of the Gospel in Foreign Parts for lending me one of 
their blocks ; to Messrs. Bassano, of Bond Street, and 
Messrs. G. R. Lambert and Co., of Singapore, whose 
photographs I am kindly permitted to reproduce ; to 
Mr. Hewitt, formerly curator of the Sarawak Museum ; 
and Mr. Ha Buey Hon, of Kuching, who have also been 
so good as to lend me photographs. 

To all these, as well as to many unmentioned friends 
who have helped me to write this book, I offer my sincere 


Uppbe Norwood, 

December, 1910. 





Bornean jungles — A picture from the past — Unsettled life — 
Sudden attacks — Head- hunting— Pirates — Malay pirates — 
Dyak pirates— Sir James Brooke — the Royalist — Rajah 
Muda Hassim — Rajah of Sarawak — Suppression of piracy and 
head-hunting — Captain Keppel — Visit to England, 1847 — 
Introduction of Christian mission — Sir Charles Brooke 21-32 


The word " Dyak " — Other native races in Sarawak — Milanaus 
— Kayans — Kinyehs — Cruelty — Ukits — Bukitans — Punans 
— Seru — Sea Dyaks — Land Dyaks — The appearance of the Sea 
.Dyak — Men's dress — Tattooing — Women's dress — Rawai, or 
corset — The teeth — Depiiation — Language - - 33-41 


Dyak village house — Tanju — Ruai — Bilik — Sadau — Human heads 
— Valuable jars — Paddy-planting — Men's work — Women's 
work — House- building — Boat- building — Kadjangs — Dyak 
tools — Bliong — Duku — Weaving — Plaiting mats and basket - 
making — Hunting — Traps — Fishing — Spoon-bait — Casting- 
net — Twfea-fishing — Crocodile- catching - - 42-60 






General remarks— Kind to children— Industrious— Frugal— ^^ 
Honest— Two cases of theft— Curses— Honesty of children— ->■ 
Truthful — Curious custom — Tugong Bula — Hospitable — 
Morals— Desire for children — Divorce — Adultery — Dyak law 
concerning adultery — Dyak view of marriage — Unselfishness 
—Domestic affection — Example - - - 61-71 



Head-hunting — Women an incentive — Gruesome story — Marriage 
of Dyak Chiefs — Legend — Some customs necessitating a 
human head — A successful head-hunter not necessarily a hero 
— A dastardly crime — War expeditions — The spear token — My 
experience at a village in Krian — Dyak war costume — Weapons 
— The Sumpit — Poison for darts — Consulting omen" birds-^ 
War-boats — Camping— War Council — Defences — War alarm — 
Ambushes — Decapitation and treatment of head — Return 
from a successful expedition — Women dancing — ^Two Christian 
Dyak Chiefs — Their views on the matter of head-taking 72-85 



Social position of the women — Dyak food— Meals — Cooking food in 
bamboo — Laws with regard to leaving a Dyak house — Rule 
of the headman — A Dyak trial — Power of the headman in old 
days — Dyak wealth — Valuable jars — 6usi — Naga — Rusa — 
A convenient dream — Trading incident at Sebetan — Land 
tenure — Laws about fruit -trees — Slavery — Captives in war 
—Slaves for debt . . - . - 86-95 



The couvade among the Dyaks — Harm to the child — Ways of 
evading these restrictions — A Christian woman's ideas on the 
subject — Witch-doctors and their methods — The waving of 
a fowl — Treatment of the mother and child — Infanticide — 



Bathing the child — Ceremony for insuring happiness to the 
child — Naming the child— Change of name— Children — Toys 
— Smallness of families — Reason - - - 96-104 



Up-country mission schools — Education — The Saribas Dyaks 
eager to learn — School programme — What the boys were 
taught — Some schoolboy reminiscences — A youthful Dyak 
manang — The story of Buda — The opening of the Krian 
Mission and the Saribas Mission - - - 105-119 



Courtship — Discussion where the married couple are to live — The 
fetching of the bride— The wedding ceremony — Mlah Pinang 
— Visit of the bride to her mother-in-law — Bride's dress — 
Bridegroom— Old bachelors among the Dyaks — Age of 
marriage — Monogamy — Prohibitive degrees — Dyak view of 
marriage — Conjugal affection— Mischief-making mothers-in- 
law — Separation and reconciliation — Divorce — Adultery 120-132 



Life beyond the grave — Wailings — Rice strewn on the dead man's 
chest — The professional waller — Feeding the dead — Carrying 
the dead — The grave — Articles buried with the dead — Baiya — 
Fire lit at sunset — The iilit, or mourning — Pana, or offering to 
the dead — The waller's song — Summing — Periodical Sabak — 
Feast in honour of the dead — Gawai Antu — The dead not 
forgotten — Other methods of disposing of the dead besides 
burial — Dyak ideas of a future life - - - 133-144 



Travelling by boat — Paddles v. oars — Dangers — Tidal bores — 
Sand-banks — Langan — Up-river travelling — Poling — Camping 
out at night — Travelling on foot — Jungle paths — Scenery — 
Wild animals — The Orang-utan — Vegetation - 145-151 





Seven omen birds — Other omen animals — Omens sought before 
beginning rice-farming — House-building omens — Substitutions 
for omens — Good and bad omens in farming — A dead animal 
— Means of avoiding bad effects — Omens obeyed at all times 
— Bird flying through a house — A drop of blood — Killing an 
omen bird or insect — Origin of the system of omens — Augury 
—Dreams ------ 152-162 



Manangs supposed to possess mysterious powers over evil spirits — 
Dyak theory of disease — Treatment of disease — Lwpong, or 
box of charms — Batu Ilau — Mannng performances — Pagar Api 
^Catching the soul — Sixteen different manang ceremonies — 
Killing the demon Buyu — Saut — Salampandai — Deceit of 
manangs — Story of a schoolboy — Smallpox and cholera — Three 
ceremonies of initiation — Different ranks of manangs 163-181 



Native remedies — Cupping — Charms — A Dyak medicine-chest — 

Smallpox and cholera — My experience at Temudok 182-193 



Certain religious observances — Petara, or gods — Singalang Burong, 
the god of war — Pulang Gana, the god of the soil — Salampan- 
dai, the maker of men — Mali, or taboo — Spirits — Girgasi, the 
chief of evil spirits — ^The dogs of the spirits — Stories — 
Customs connected with the belief in spirits — Sacrifices — 
Piring and ginselan — The victim of the sacrifice generally 
eaten, but not always — Material benefits expected by the 
Dyaks by their religious ceremoniea—N ampok, a means of 
communicating with spirits — Batu kudi, " stones of wrath " 
— Belief in a future life — Conclusion - - 194—208 





Four classes of feasts — Preparations — Feasts connected with : 
1, Head-taking ; 2, Farming ; 3, The dead ; 4, Dreams, etc. 
— House-warming — Social feasts - - . 209-219 



Dyak games — Football — War Dance — Sword Dance^Dyak music 
— Cock-fighting — Tops — " Riding the tidal bore " — Swim- 
ming — Trials of strength .... 220-224 



Love of music — Love songs — Boat songs — War songs — Incanta- 
tions at Dyak feasts — The song of mourning — musical in- 
struments ...... 225-232 



Love of travel — "The innocents abroad" — Gutta-hunting — 
Collecting canes — Hunting for edible birds' -nests — Camphor- 
working - - - - - . 233-239 



The itinerant missionary — Visit to a Dyak house — Reception — 
Cooking — Servants — The meal — Teaching the Dyaks — 
Christians — Services — Prayer - houses— Offertory — Reception 
of the missionary — Dangers of sea travelhng during the 
north-east monsoon — My boat swamped — In the jungle — 
Losing my way — A Dyak's experience - - 240-251 






Sea Dyak stories — Ensera — Kana — The mouse - deer and the 
tortoise — Klieng — Kumang — Apai Saloi — The cunning of 
the mouse-deer — The mouse-deer and other animals who went 
out fishing — The mouse-deer, the deer and the pig — Sea Dyak 
proverbs ...... 252-263 



Dyak fairy tales and legends — I. DAifJAi and the Were-Tigee's 
Sister — II. The Story of Sitj, who first taught the Dyaks 
to observe the omens of birds — III. Pulang Gana, and how 
he came to be worshipped as the god of the earth - 264-315 



Trial by ordeal — Diving contests — A diving contest at Krian — 
A Dyak superstition — Names — Fruit found by the pathway — 
Circumcision — Fishing and hunting superstition — Madness — 
Leprosy — Time — Form of greeting - - - 316-323 



The Sea Dyak — Work — Bad times — Cheerfulness — The view from 
within — The Sea Dyak's future — Mission work among them — 
Government— Development in the immediate future 324-331 

Glossary ....-- 332-337 

Index - ..... 338-34a 



A Dyak Girl dressed in all her Finery to attend a 

Feast Frontispiece 

A Sea Dyak with Shield - 22 

Sir Charles Brooke, G.C.M.G., the Present Rajah of 

Sarawak 30 

Three Typical Dyaks 36 

Dyak Village House in Course of Construction - - 44 

Dyak making a Blowpipe 44 

Dyak Girls pounding Rice 46 

A Husking Mill 46 

Drying Paddy 46 

Sea Dyaks making a Canoe 50 

Girls Weaving 52 

Dyaks returning from Tuba-fishing 56 

A Dyak Woman making a Mat with Split Cane - - - 62 

Five Dyaks in War Dress, with Spears and Shields - - 74 

A Dyak in War Dress 78 

Human Heads 78 

Dyak Warfare 82 

Dyak Houses 88 

Dyak Children 102 

A Dyak Youth 114 

A Dyak Lad 114 

A Dyak Wedding 124 

Dyak Girl Spinning 128 

A Dyak Bride 130 

A Dyak Girl 130 

A Dyak Cemetery by the River-side 136 

A Dyak Dancing the War Dance 136 




Boat-travelling 146 

A Dyak Youth holding a Spear 160 

A River Scene 206 

Cock-fighting 210 

Three Dyak Girls dressed in their Finery to attend a 

Feast 212 

Cock-fighting - - 222 

A Long Dyak Village House 242 

A Dyak Woman in Everyday Costume . . . . 268 

A Dyak using a Wooden Blowpipe 280 

A Dyak Girl 290 

Scraping Palm-Leaves for Fibre 290 

Dyaks making a Dam for Tuba-fishing .... 296 

A Dyak in Gala Costume 326 



Bornean jungles — A picture from the past — Unsettled life — Sudden 
attacks — Head-hunting — Pirates — Malay pirates — Dyak pirates — 
Sir James Brooke — The Royalist — Rajah Muda Hassim — Rajah 
of Sarawak — Suppression of piracy and head-hunting — Captain 
Keppel — Visit to England, 1847 — Introduction of Christian mission 
— Sir Charles Brooke. 

THE Bornean jungles are immense tracts of country 
covered, by gigantic trees, in the midst of which are 
mountains clothed in evergreen foliage, their barren 
cliffs buried beneath a network of creepers and ferns. The 
striking features are the size of the enormous forest trees 
and the closeness of their growth, rather than their loveli- 
ness or brilliancy of colour. In the tropical forests few 
bright-coloured flowers relieve the monotony of dark green 
leaves and dark brown trunks and branches of trees. The 
prevailing hue of tropical plants is a sombre green. The 
greater and lesser trees are often loaded with trailers and 
ferns, among which huge masses of the elk-horn fern are 
often conspicuous. But there is little colour to relieve 
the monotony of all these sombre hues. Here and there 
may be seen some creeper with red berries, and many 
bright-coloured orchids hang high overhead. But it is 



impossible for the observer to gain a favourable position 
for beholding the richest blooms, which often climb far 
above him, turning their faces towards the sunlight above 
the roof of foliage. 

These regions are still inhabited by half-clad men and 
women, living quaint lives in their strange houses, observ- 
ing weird ceremonies, and cherishing strange superstitions 
and curious customs, delighting in games and feasts, and 
repeating ancient legends of their gods and heroes. But 
in a few years all these things will be forgotten ; for in 
Borneo, as elsewhere, civilization is coming — coming 
quickly — and all the distinctive Dyak customs will soon 
be things of the past. Already the Dyak is mixing with 
other races in the towns, and is changing his picturesque 
dress for Western costume. He is fast forgetting his old 
practices and his old modes of thought. 

The tropical forests of Sarawak were much the same 
years ago as they are to-day. But the life of the Dyak 
is already greatly changed, and his lot improved by the 
introduction of just rule, law and order, and respect for 
human life. For a moment let us go back to the past, and 
try to picture the life of the Sea Dyak as it was some sixty 
years ago. 

In those days there was constant warfare between the 
different tribes, and the Dyaks lived together in large 
numbers in their long houses, which had stockades around 
them, so that thej^ had some defence against any sudden 
attack. Very often the young braves would make an 
expedition against some neighbouring tribe, simply because 
they wanted to bring home, each man of them, the ghastly 
trophy of a human head, and thus gain favour in the eyes of 
the Dyak girls. In these expeditions many were killed and 
many taken captive, to be the slaves of the conquerors. 


Often in those days a party of Dyaks would suddenly 
attack some neighbouring house. Such of the men as 
were at home would repel the attack as best they could, 
for defeat meant certain death, if not worse. The women 
and children — such of them as had not managed to escape 
and hide in the jungle — would be crowded together in 
the veranda of the Dyak house, and the men, armed 
with sword and spear and shield, would form a circle 
round them. The large brass gongs {tawak) would be 
struck in a peculiar manner, to let the neighbours know 
of the attack, and to implore their help. The fight would 
continue till one party was defeated. If any came to 
the rescue, the attacking party would retreat, pursued 
by such of the inmates of the house as dared to follow 
them ; but if no help came, the house would be rushed, 
the men and women cut down, and the children killed 
or taken captive. The heads of the dead would be cut off 
amid wild whoops of joy, and carried off in triumph. 

I have spoken to Dyaks who have been present at 
such scenes, and asked them to describe to me what 
happens on such occasions. What they had to say was 
horrible enough to listen to, but what must the reality 
have been ! 

Sometimes the victims would be attacked when at 
work on their farms, or some solitary farm-hut would 
be surrounded at night. In each case the enemy would 
meet with little resistance. Thus the Dyaks used to live 
in a constant state of fear. 

In those days many of the Sea Dyaks joined the Malays 
in their piratical attacks upon trading boats. It was the 
practice of the Malay pirates and their Dyak allies to 
wreck and destroy every vessel that came near their 
shores, to murder most of the crew who offered any re- 


sistance, and to make slaves of the rest. The Malay 
fleet consisted of a large number of long war-boats, or 
prahus, each about ninety or more feet long, and carrying 
a brass gun in the bows, the pirates being armed with 
swords and spears and muskets. Each boat was paddled 
by from sixty to eighty men. These terrible craft 
skulked about in the sheltered coves waiting for their 
prey, and attacked merchant- vessels making the passage 
between China and Singapore. These piratical raids were 
often made with the secret sanction of the native rulers, 
who obtained a share of the spoil as the price of their 

The Dyaks of Saribas and Skrang and the Balaus 
gladly joined the Malays in these expeditions, not only 
for the sake of obtaining booty, but because they could 
thus indulge in their favourite pursuit, and gain glory 
for themselves by bringing home human heads to decorate 
their houses with. The Dyak bangkongs were long boats 
capable of holding as many as eighty men. They often 
had a flat roof, from which the warriors fought, while 
their comrades paddled below. 

Both the piracy and the terrible custom of head- 
hunting were put down by Sir James Brooke. The 
romantic story of how he came to be the first Rajah of 
Sarawak may here be briefly recalled. 

James Brooke was born on April 29, 1803. His father 
was a member of the Civil Service of the East India 
Company, and spent a great many years in India. Fol- 
lowing in his father's footsteps, he entered the Company's 
service, and was sent out to India in 1825. Not long 
after his arrival he was put in command of a regiment of 
soldiers, and ordered to Burmah, where he took part in 
the Burmese War ; and, being dangerously wounded in 


an engagement, was compelled to return home on fur- 
lough. For over four years his health prevented him 
from rejoining his regiment, and when at last he started, 
the voyage out was so protracted, through a shipwreck 
and other misfortunes, that his furlough had expired 
before he was able to reach his destination. His appoint- 
ment consequently lapsed, and he quitted the service 
in 1830. 

In that same year he made a voyage to China, and was 
struck by the natural beauty and fertility of the islands 
of the Indian Archipelago, and horrified with the savagery 
of the tribes inliabiting them, who were continually at 
war with one another, and engaged in a monstrous 
system of piracy. He conceived the grand idea of 
rescuing them from barbarism, and of extirpating piracy 
in the Eastern Archipelago. | 

On the death of his father he inherited the sum of 
£30,000, and found himself in a position to carry out his 
schemes. He bought and equipped a yacht, the Royalist, 
and for three years he cruised about, chiefly in the Mediter- 
ranean, training his crew of twenty men for the arduous 
work that lay before them.ij 

On October 27, 1838, he sailed from the Thames on his 
great adventure, travelled slowly on the long journey 
round the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived in Singapore 
in 1839. Here he met a shipwrecked crew, who had 
lately come from Borneo. They said they had been 
kindly treated by Muda Hassim — a native Rajah in 
Borneo — and they asked Mr. James Brooke to take 
presents and letters of thanks to him, if he should be 
going thither in his yacht. Mr. Brooke had not decided 
which of the many islands of the Eastern Archipelago he 
would visit, and he was as ready to go to Borneo as to 


an}' other ; so, setting sail, he made his way up the 
Sarawak River, and anchored off Kuching on August 15, 
1839. The country was nominally under the rule of 
the Sultan of Brunei, but his uncle, Rajah Muda Hassim, 
was then the greatest power in the island. As he was 
favourable to English strangers, Mr. Brooke paid him 
the customary homage, and was favourably received, and 
given full licence to visit the Dyaks of Lundu. The 
Rajah was at this time engaged in war with several fierce 
Dyak tribes in the province of Sarawak, who had re- 
volted against the Sultan ; but his efforts to quell this 
rebellion were ineffectual. The absolute worthlessness of 
the native troops under his command, and his own weak- 
ness of character, induced him to cling to Mr. Brooke, in 
whom he recognized a born leader of men, and he appealed 
for his help in putting down the insurgents, and implored 
him not to leave him a prey to his enemies. The Rajah 
even offered to transfer the government of the province 
to Brooke if he would remain and take command. This 
offer he felt bound at the time to decline, but it led to 
his obtaining a position of authority at Sarawak, useful 
for the purposes of trade. 

With James Brooke's help the rebellion, which the 
Malay forces were too feeble to subdue, was effectually 
stayed. The insurgents were defeated in a battle in which 
Brooke, with the crew of his yacht and some ]Malay 
followers, took part. For his services on this occasion 
Muda Hassim conferred on him the title of Rajah of 
Sarawak, and this was the first step towards that larger 
sovereignty which he afterwards acquired. Some time 
elapsed, however, before the Sultan of Brunei could be 
induced to confirm the title. Mr. Brooke at once took 
vigorous action, making many reforms and introducing 


a system of administration far superior to any that the 
native authorities had ever dreamed of ; and in September, 
1841, the government of Sarawak and its dependencies 
was formally made over to him. In the following year 
the Sultan of Brunei confirmed what Rajah Muda Hassim 
had done, on the condition that the religion of the 
Mohammedans of the country should be respected. 

And now Rajah Brooke found himself in a position of 
authority which enabled him to bring all his administra- 
tive powers into operation. He saw clearly that the 
development of commerce would be the most effective 
means of civilizing the natives, and to make this possible it 
was necessary to suppress the hideous piracy which was 
not only a curse to the savage tribes, appealing as it did 
to their worst instincts, but a standing danger to both 
European and native traders in those seas. 

In the suppression of piracy James Brooke found a 
vigorous ally in Captain (afterwards Admiral) Keppel, 
who, in command of H.M.S. Dido, was summoned from 
the China station in 1843 for this service. Various 
expeditions were organized and sent out against the 
marauders, the story of which has been told by himself. 
The pirates were attacked in their strongholds by Captain 
Keppel and other commanders of British ships. They 
fought desperately, and the slaughter was immense. The 
pirate crews found the entrances to the rivers blocked 
up by English gunboats, and their retreat cut off. These 
strenuous measures soon cleared the seas. 

The practice of head-hunting was also dealt with by 
Sir James Brooke. He declared it to be a crime punish- 
able with death, and by his rigorous treatment of head- 
hunting parties he gave the deathblow to this horrible 
national custom. 


After his strenuous life in Sarawak, Sir James Brooke 
had a great desire to visit England. Besides other 
reasons, the wish to see his relatives and friends, he felt 
he could effect more for the inhabitants of Borneo by 
a personal interview with Government Ministers in Eng- 
land than hj correspondence. He left Sarawak, and 
reached England early in October, 1847. There honours 
awaited him. He was presented with the freedom of 
the City of London ; Oxford University conferred upon 
him the degree of LL.D. ; he was graciously received at 
Windsor by the Queen and the Prince Consort. The 
British Government recognized the work he had done, 
and appointed him Governor of Labuan and Commissioner 
and Consul-General in Borneo, and made him a K.C.B. 
The warrant of investiture was issued by Her Majesty on 
May 22, 1848. 

The extirpation of piracy was the first step towards 
introducing into the country the blessings of a settled 
government, with all its civilizing influences. But he 
was not satisfied with this, and soon began to take 
measures for the establishment of a Christian Mission in 
Sarawak. When Sir James Brooke visited England in 
1847, he appealed to the Church, and especially to the two 
Universities, to come to his aid. Neither of the two 
great missionary societies was able at the time to under- 
take this new enterprise through lack of funds, and a new 
organization, the " Borneo Church Mission," was founded, 
which laboured in the island for a few years. Then, in 
1854, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in 
Foreign Parts was able to take up the work, and has ever 
since been responsible for it. The original organization 
had, however, done well in the choice of the missionaries 
it sent out, the first of whom was the Rev. F. T. McDougall, 


who was consecrated Bishop of Labuan and Sarawak in 

My father, the Rev. W. H. Gomes, B.D., worked under 
Bishop McDougall as a missionary among the Dyaks of 
Lundu from 1852 to 1867, and I myself have worked, 
under Bishop Hose, as a missionary in Sarawak, for seven- 
teen years, and have thus gained an intimate knowledge 
of the people and of their lives, now so rapidly changing 
under Western influence. 

Sir James Brooke was a man of the highest personal 
character. That a young English officer, with a fortune 
of his own, should have been willing to devote his whole 
life to improving the condition of the Dyaks was a grand 
thing. That he should have been able, by perfectly 
legitimate means, to do this in the teeth of much official 
and other opposition ; that he should have been able to 
put down piracy and head-hunting, with their unspeak- 
able accompaniments of misery and cruelty, and to do 
it all with the hearty good-will of the people under his 
rule, — this was indeed an achievement which might have 
seemed hardly possible. 

The present Rajah of Sarawak, Sir Charles Brooke, is 
a nephew of the first Rajah. He joined his uncle in 
1852, when he held the rank of lieutenant in the British 
navy. For ten years he played an important part in 
the arduous work of punishing rebels and establishing a 
sound government. In 1857, when the Chinese in- 
surrection broke out, it was his action that led to the 
p unishment of the insurgents and the restoration of peace . 
In 1863, on the retirement of the first Rajah, he assumed 
control of the country, and five years later, on the death 
of his predecessor, he became Rajah of Sarawak. Ever 
ince he became the responsible ruler of the country. 


Sarawak has advanced steadily, and made great moral 
and material progress. To the general public the first 
Rajah will always appear the romantic, heroic figure ; 
but, while 3'ielding full measure of praise and admiration 
to the work of a great man, those who know the country 
will, I think, agree with me that the heavier burden of 
working steadily and unwearyingly, when the romance 
of novelty had worn off, has been borne by his successor. 
With talents not less than those of his illustrious uncle 
he has carried out, in the face of disappointments and 
the most serious obstacles, a policy of regeneration for 
which the striking exploits of Sir James Brooke merely 
paved the way. 

His work is well summarized by himself in an address 
to the Kunsil Negri (the Council of the Country) in 1891. 
He said he might divide his term of service of thirty-nine 
years into three periods of thirteen years each. The first 
period had been almost wholly spent in the work of 
suppressing head-hunting among the Dyaks. It involved 
frequent expeditions against rebellious Dyaks, much hard 
travelling by river and by land, and a constant watch 
against subtle enemies. The second period had been 
divided between occasional expeditions of the same nature 
and the establishment of trade and peaceful pursuits, 
and the giving and amending of laws as need arose. The 
last period had almost entirely been taken up with 
attending to the political and social affairs of a settled 
and peaceful community. Those present, who had been 
young with himself in the early da3''s of his service, had 
been of great assistance to him, and had carried through 
the work set them, rough and perilous in the extreme, 
in mountainous region of jungle, and on treacherous, 
rapid-flowing rivers, subject to every kind of exposure ; 

Sir Brooke, G.C.M.G., the pres!:nt Rajah of Sarawak 


but now these hardships were no more required, and 
that was well, for both they and himself were growing 
old. The character of his task and theirs was changed : 
he and his old comrades, who had faced so many dangers 
together on river and in jungle, could now sit down com- 
fortably and attend to the political business and the com- 
mercial progress of the country. 

To these three periods the Rajah has since added a 
fourth, and that the longest of all, during which, as occa- 
sion served, a great deal has been done to extinguish the 
lingering sparks of intertribal hostility. There are occa- 
sional outbreaks among the Dyaks of the interior, and 
head-hunting still survives where natives think there is a 
chance of escaping detection and consequent punishment. 
But. happily, these are getting more and more rare, 
and do not affect the prosperity or trade of the country. 

The method employed by the present Rajah to suppress 
head-hunting is best described in his own words : 

" As soon as ever one of these parties started, or even 
listened to birds of omen preparatory to moving, a party 
was immediately despatched by Government to en- 
deavour to cut them off, and to fine them heavily on their 
return ; or, in the event of their bringing heads, to demand 
the delivery up of them, and the payment of a fine into 
the bargain. This was the steady and unflinching work 
of years, but before many months were over my stock 
of heads became numerous, and the fines considerable. 
Some refused to pay or follow the directions of the 
Government. These were declared enemies, and had 
their houses burnt down forthwith, and the people who 
followed me to do the work would be the Dyaks of some 
other branch-tribe on the same river." 

The natives of Sarawak owe much to the Brookes. 


The work, nobly begun by Sir James Brooke, has been 
ably carried on by the present Rajah. To use his own 
words : " He as founder, and myself as builder, of the 
State have been one in our policy throughout, from the 
beginning up to the present time ; and now shortly I 
have to hand it to my son, and I hope that his poUcy 
may not be far removed from that of his predecessors." 


The word " Dyak " — Other native races in Sarawak — Milanaus — 
Kayans — Kinyehs — Cruelty — Ukits — Bukitans — Punans — Sent — 
Sea Dyaks — Land Dyaks — ^The appearance of the Sea Dyak — 
Men's dress — Tattooing — Women's dress — Bawai, or corset — The 
teeth — Depilation — Language. 

THE derivation of the word " Dyak " is uncertain. 
Some think it is derived from daya, which in 
the Brunei Malay dialect means " inland," " in- 
terior." Others derive it from the Land Dyak word 
daya, which means " a man." Whatever may be the 
derivation, it is quite incorrect to apply it to all the inland 
races of Borneo. There are many tribes, such as the 
Kayans, Muruts, Ukits, and Punans, who are not Dyaks 
at all, their language, customs, and traditions being quite 

Before describing the Dyaks, some mention must be 
made of the other native races to be found in Sarawak. 
They are the Milanaus, Kayans, Kinyehs, Muruts, Ukits, 
Bukitans, Pwnans, and Seru. 

The Milanaus are a quiet people who keep very much to 
themselves. They are not Mohammedans, although they 
dress hke the Malays. They are an important tribe, and 
are to be found in large numbers at Matu, Oya, Muka, and 
Bintulu. They plant paddy and cultivate sago on a 
large scale. They are skilled in working iron, and are 

33 3 


excellent boat-builders. Their speech is somewhat similar 
to that of the Kayans, and many of their customs are 

The Kayans and Kinyehs, who may be classed together, 
are a numerous race inhabiting the upper waters of the 
Baram and Rejang Rivers. In many ways they seem to 
be a more advanced race than the Sea Byaks. They 
build better houses, and are more expert in the manu- 
facture of weapons, being able to extract their iron from 
the native ore. Their moral character, however, is vin- 
dictive and cruel, and they are lacking in that spirit of 
hospitahty w^hich is such a great feature of the Sea Dyak 
character. A few years ago a party of Dyak gutta- 
percha collectors were attacked by the Punans, and many 
of them kiUed. Four young Dyaks managed to escape, 
and after wandering for many days in the jungle, arrived 
destitute and starving at a Kayan house, and asked for 
food and shelter. The treatment they received was 
horrible in the extreme. The Kayans bound the young 
men, and after breaking their arms and legs, handed them 
over to the women, who slowly despatched them by 
hacking them to pieces with Uttle knives. 

The Muruts inhabit the Limbang and Trusan Rivers. 
Their language and customs differ entirely from those of 
the Sea Dyaks. 

The Ukits, Bukltans (name probably derived from 
Malay bukit, " a hiU "), and Punans are races which 
inhabit the far interior, and lead a wandering life in the 
Kayan country. They do not build houses, but only 
make temporary shelters for themselves between the 
buttresses of large forest trees. They live by hunting, 
and are expert in the use of the sumpit, or blow-pipe. 

The Seru are a small and fast dying out race. There 


used to be a little village of the Seru near my house in 
Kalaka, where some forty of them lived in a long house, 
similar to that built by the Dyaks. The men wore the 
Dyak dress, but the women were dressed like the Malays, 
and wore a long petticoat reaching to the ankles (sarong), 
and a long jacket (kabayah). They planted paddy, but 
did not depend entirely on this for their livelihood. The 
men were great hunters, and would salt and sell the wild 
pig they killed. They were a very secluded people, and 
kept very much to themselves. They were not Moham- 
medans, and did not seem to have any of the religious 
rites peculiar to the Dyaks. They told me they believed 
in a good Spirit and a bad one, but their religious ideas 
were very vague. 

Besides the tribes already mentioned, there are two 
distinct races of Dyaks in Borneo — the Sea Dyaks and 
the Land Dyaks. The former live by the sea and on the 
banks of the rivers, though many of them may be found 
far inland. The Land Dyaks inhabit the interior of the 
country, and are not so numerous or energetic as the Sea 
Dyaks. The language and traditions of these two 
divisions of the Dyak race are quite distinct. 

The Dyaks spoken of in this work are the Sea Dyaks. 
Their home is in Sarawak — the country governed by 
Rajah Brooke — though they often travel far afield, and 
they are to be found in large numbers on the banks of the 
rivers of Sarawak — the Batang, Lupar, Saribas, Krian, 
and Rejang. 

The Dyak is of rather greater stature than that of the 
Malay, though he is considerably shorter than the average 
European. The men are well-proportioned, but slightly 
buQt. Their form suggests activity, speed, and endur- 
ance rather than great strength, and these are the quali- 


ties most required by dwellers in the jungle. Their 
movements are easy and graceful, and their carriage erect. 
The women are generally smaller than the men. They 
have neat figures, and are bright, cheerful, and good- 
looking in their youth, but they age very soon. 

The colour of their skin varies considerably, not so 
much between one tribe and another as in different parts 
of the country. Generally speaking, those who reside in 
the interior of the country, on the banks of the upper 
reaches of the rivers, are fairer than those who live nearer 
the sea. This may be due to the deeper shade afforded by 
old jungle, and the bathing in and drinking of the water 
of the clear, gravel-bedded streams. Their colour varies 
from a dark bronze to a light brown, with a tinge of 
yellow. Their eyes are black or dark brown, clear and 
bright, with quick intelligence and good temper. Their 
mouths are generally ill-shapen and disfigured by ex- 
cessive chewing of sireh and betel-nut, a habit much 
indulged in by both men and women. 

In dress great alterations have resulted from foreign 
influence, and the Dyaks who live near the towns wear 
the trousers and coat of civilized races, but the original 
style still prevails in the up-country villages. 

Love of finery is inherent in the young Dyak. The old 
men are often very shabbily dressed, but the young are 
more particular. The ordinary male attire consists of a 
sirat, or waist-cloth, a labong, or headkerchief , and a tikai 
buret, or seat-mat. The waist-cloth is made of the soft 
inner bark of a tree, or more frequently of some red or 
blue cotton cloth. This is one yard wide, and from eight 
to eighteen feet long, and is twisted round and round their 
waists, and pulled up tight between the thighs, one end 
hanging down in front and the other behind . Sometimes 

Three Typicai, Dyaks 

The man on the right is using a seat mat made of the skin of an animal. Sometimes these mats 
are made of split cane. The Dyak, in his wanderings in the jungle, has often to sit on prickly grass 
•or sharp stones, and a seat mat is a useful part of his attire. 


this waist-cloth is woven by the Dyak women, and then the 
end that hangs down in front has an elaborate pattern 
woven into it. Their head-dress is either a bright-coloured 
headkerchief, or else a small cap of woven cane, in which 
feathers and other ornaments are often stuck. The 
tikai buret, or seat-mat, is made either of the skin of some 
animal or of cane matting. Its edges are decorated with 
red and white cloth, and with beads or buttons. 

Besides these articles of apparel the men sometimes wear 
a sleeveless jacket, or klamhi. These are often woven by 
the Dyak women, either from yarn spun from cotton of 
their own growing or from imported yarn of a finer 
texture. More often in the present day they are made 
of cloth of European manufacture. The patterns of the 
Dyak-woven klamhi are various, but those of a particular 
type can only be worn by men who have succeeded in 
securing a human head when on the warpath. The lower 
edge of this jacket is ornamented with beads, shells, and 
buttons, and bordered by a fringe. 

In addition to the attire already mentioned, the men 
have sometimes a dandong, or shawl, which is thrown 
over the shoulders. The ornaments worn on the arms 
and legs are brass rings, which vary among the Dyaks of 
different districts. Armlets made from sea-shells are very 
much in favour among some inland tribes. The young 
men generally wear their hair long, cut in a fringe in front, 
and either hanging down loose behind, or tucked into 
their caps. 

Tattooing is practised by most of the Dyaks in a greater 
or less degree. It is confined to the male sex, who often 
have little patterns tattooed on the forehead, throat- 
apple, shoulders, or chest. 

The dress of the women consists of a petticoat (kain), 



drawn tightly round the waist and reaching to the knee, 
and in addition a Mamhi, or jacket, worn when out of 
doors. For ornaments the women wear finger-rings, 
necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, and often a girdle 
formed of silver coins, or of silver or brass chain. Round 
the stomach are wound long strips of coloured cane. 
Among some tribes a peculiar corset, called the rawai, is 
worn by the women. This is made of small brass rings 
strung closely together on hoops of rattan, which are 
connected with one another inside by a network of cane. 
A few of these hoops are made larger so as to hang loose 
over the hips. The series that encase the waist, stomach, 
and chest fit very close. This corset must be very un- 
comfortable, as the wearer can hardly bend the body at 
all, especially when it is worn right up to and covering the 
breasts, as it is done by some young women who can afford 
such extravagance. 

The hair is worn long, and tied in a knot at the back of 
the head. Some of the women have beautiful raven black 
hair of great length. Wavy or curly hair is seldom seen. 

The teeth are often blackened, as black teeth are con- 
sidered a sign of beauty. The blackening is done by 
taking a piece of old cocoanut-shell or of certain woods, 
and holding it over a hot fire ilntil a black resinous juice 
exudes. This juice is collected, and while still warm the 
teeth are coated with it. The front teeth are also fre- 
quently filed to a point, and this gives their face a curious 
dog-like appearance. Sometimes the teeth are filed con- 
cavely in front, or else the front teeth are filed down till 
almost level with the gums. Another curious way of 
treating the front teeth is to di-ill a hole in the middle of 
each tooth, and fix in it a brass stud. I was once present 
when this operation was in progress. The man lay down 


with a piece of soft wood between his teeth, and the 
" dentist " bored a hole in one of his front teeth. The 
agony the patient endured must have been very great, 
judging by the look on his face and his occasional bodily 
contortions. The next thing was to insert the end of a 
pointed brass wire, which was then filed off, leaving a 
short piece in the tooth ; a small hammer was used to fix 
this in tightly, and, lastly, a little more filing was done to 
smooth the surface of the brass stud. I am told the 
process is so painful that it is not often a man can bear 
to have more than one or two teeth operated on at a time. 

The Dyaks do not like beards, and much prefer a 
smooth face. In the whole course of my Dyak experience 
I have only met with one bearded man. The universal 
absence of hair upon the face, on the chest, and under the 
arm-pits might lead one to suppose that it was a natural 
deficiency. But this is not the case at all, as old men and 
chronic invalids, who by reason of age or infirmity have 
ceased to care about their personal appearance, have 
often chins covered with a bristly growth. The absence of 
hair on the face and elsewhere is due to systematic 
depilation. The looking-glass and tweezers are often 
seen in the hands of the young men, and they devote 
every spare moment to the plucking out of stray hairs. 
Ka'pu, or quicklime, which is one of the constituents of 
betel-nut mixture chewed by the Dyaks, is often rubbed 
into the skin to destroy the vitality of the hair-follicles. 

Among some tribes it is the fashion for both men and 
women to shave the eyebrows and pull out the eyelashes, 
and this gives their faces a staring, vacant expression. I 
have often tried to convince them of the foolishness of 
trying to improve upon nature in this way, and pointed 
out that both eyebrows and eyelashes are a protection 


to the eyes from dust and glare. But my remarks have 
made little impression on them. Among the Dyaks, as 
elsewhere, fashions die hard. 

The Sea Dyak language is practically a dialect of Malay 
which is spoken more or less over all Polynesia. It is not 
nearly so copious as other Malayan languages, but the 
Dyaks do not scruple to use Malay words in their conversa- 
tion when necessary. The Dyak language is particularly 
weak in expressing abstract ideas. What the mind cannot 
grasp the tongue is not likely to express. I believe there 
is only one word — rindu — to express all the different 
varieties of love. On the other hand, the language is rich 
in words expressing the common actions of daily life. 
There are many words to express the different ways of 
carrying anything ; one word for carrying in the hand, 
another for carrying on the back, and another for carrying 
on the shoulder. 

There are several words in Dyak which resemble Malay 
words of the same meaning, the difference being that the 
Malay suffix an is changed into ai. Thus, the Malay 
word makan (to eat) becomes maJcai in Dyak, and 
jalan (to walk) becomes jalai. There are some words 
exactly the same in both languages, and these are for 
the most part simple substantives, such as rumah (house), 
laki (husband), hini (wife). Verbs, however, commonly 
differ, though expressing simple necessary actions. Thus, 
the Malay word for " to drink " is minum, the Dyak word 
is ngirwp ; the Malay for " to eat " is makan, and the 
Dyak em'pa as well as makai. 

It is not surprising that there should be many words in 
Dyak not known to the Malays. Though derived from 
the same parent tongue, the Dyak language has developed 
independently by contact with other races. 


There are many tribes that talk the Sea Dyak language. 
The Sabuyaus living on the coast and at Lundu, the 
Balaus of the Batang Lupar and elsewhere, the dwellers 
on the Skrang and Saribas Rivers, as well as the Kanowit 
and Katibas branches of the Rejang River, all speak it> 
with slight modifications. There can be no doubt that 
all these tribes are descended from the same parent stock. 

The difference of dialect between the different tribes is 
often a source of great amusement, and I remember well 
taking some Saribas boys, who had been some time in my 
school at Banting, on a visit to their people. We sat in 
the long veranda of the Dyak house, and I noticed that 
as they spoke to their relatives and friends there were 
shrieks of laughter and great merriment. The reason of 
this was that the boys had unconsciously picked up the 
Balau dialect during their stay at Banting, and their 
manner of speaking amused their Saribas friends ex- 


Dyak village house — Tanju — Ruai — Bilik — Sadau — Human heads — 
Valuable jars — Paddy-planting — Men's work — Women's work — 
House- building — Boat-building — Kadjangs—Dyak tools — Bliong 
— Duhu — Weaving — Plaiting mats and basket-making— Hunting 
— Traps — Fishing — Spoon - bait — Casting-net — Tttfca-fishing — 

AMONG the Dyaks a whole village, consisting of 
some twenty or thirty families, or even more, live 
together under one roof. This village house is 
built on piles made of hard wood, which raise the floor 
from six to twelve feet above the ground. The ascent is 
made by a notched trunk or log, which serves as a ladder ; 
one is fixed at each end of the house. The length of this 
house varies according to the number of families inhabiting 
it ; but as the rooms occupied by the different families 
are built on the same plan and by a combination of 
labour, the whole presents a uniform and regular 

The roof and outside walls arc thatched with the leaves 
of the nipa palm, which are first made into attap. These 
are made by doubling the leaves over a stick about six 
feet long, each leaf overlapping the other, and se^vn down 
with split cane or reeds. These attap are arranged in 
rows, each attap overlapping the one beneath it, and thus 



forming a roof which keeps off the rain and sun, and lasts 
for three or four years. 

The long Dyak village house is built in a straight line, 
and consists of a long uncovered veranda, which is called 
the tanju. The paddy is put on the tanju to be dried by 
the sun before it is pounded to get rid of its husk and 
convert it into rice. Here also the clothes and a variety 
of other things are hung out to dry. The family whet- 
stone and dye vat are kept under the eaves of the roof, 
and the men sharpen their tools and the women do their 
dyeing on the tanju. The flooring of this part of the 
house is generally made of hilian, or iron-wood, so as to 
stand exposure to the weather. 

Next to the tanju comes the covered veranda, or ruai. 
This also stretches the whole length of the house, and the 
floor is made of bamboo, or nibong (a kind of palm), split 
into laths and tied down with rattan or cane. 

This ruai, or public hall, is generally about twenty feet 
wide, and as it stretches the whole length of the house 
without any partition, it is a cool and pleasant place, and 
is much frequented by men and women for conversation 
and indoor pursuits. Here the women often do their 
work — the weaving of cloth or the plaiting of mats. Here, 
too, the men chop up the firewood, or even make boats, 
if not of too great a size. This long niai is a public place 
open to all comers, and used as a road by travellers, who 
climb up the ladder at one end, walk through the whole 
length of the house, and go down the ladder at the other 
end. The floor is carpeted with thick and heavy mats, 
made of cane interlaced with narrow strips of beaten 
bark. Over these are spread other mats of finer texture 
for visitors to sit upon. 

The length of this covered veranda depends upon the 


number of families living in the house, and these range 
from three or four to forty or fifty. 

Each family has its own portion of this ruai, and in 
each there is a small fireplace, which consists of a slab of 
stone, at which the men warm themselves, when they 
get up, as they usually do, in the chill of the early morning 
before the sun has risen. 

Over this fireplace hangs the most valuable ornament 
in the eyes of the Dyak, the bunch of human heads. 
These are the heads obtained when on the warpath by 
various members of the family — dead and living — and are 
handed down from father to son as the most precious 
heirlooms — more precious, indeed, than the ancient jars 
which the Dyaks prize so highly. 

The posts in this public covered veranda are often 
adorned with the horns of deer and the tusks of wild 
boars — trophies of the chase. The empty sheaths of 
swords are suspended on these horns or from wooden 
hooks, while the naked blades are placed in racks 

On one side of this long public hall is a row of doors. 
Each of these leads into a separate room, or hilik, which 
is occupied by a family. The doors open outwards, and 
each is closed by means of a heavy weight secured to a 
thong fastened to the inside. If the room be unusually 
large, it may have two doors for the sake of convenience. 
This room serves several purposes. It serves as a 
kitchen, and in one corner there is a fireplace where the 
food is cooked. This fireplace is set against the wall of 
the veranda, and resembles an open cupboard. The 
lowest shelf rests on the floor, and is boarded all round 
and filled with clay. This forms the fireplace, and is 
furnished with a few stones upon which the pots are set 

DvAK Making a Blow-pipe 

He is seen here shaping the outside of the blow-pipe. The hole is bored while the wood is about 
six inches in diameter, and it is then pared down to about two inches. 

Dyak Vili.agk House in course of Construction 

This picture shows the arrangement of pillars and rafters of a Dyak house. The floor 
nearest the earth is divided into the long open veranda and the rooms in which the ditTerent 
families live. Above this is the loft, where the paddy is stored away. Part of the roof in the 
picture has been covered with palm-leaf thatch. 


for cooking. The shelf immediately above the fireplace 
is set apart for smoking fish. The shelves above are filled 
with firewood, which is thoroughly dried by the smoke 
and ready for use. As the smoke from the wood fire is 
not conducted through the roof by any kind of chimney, 
it spreads itself through the loft, and blackens the beams 
and rafters of the roof. 

This room also serves as a dining-room. When the 
food is cooked, mats are spread here, and the inmates 
squat on the floor to eat their meal. There is no furniture, 
the floor serving the double purpose of table and chairs. 

This hilik also serves as a bedroom. At night the mats 
for sleepmg on are spread out here, and the mosquito- 
curtains hung up. 

There is no window to let in the air and light, but a 
portion of the roof is so constructed that it can be raised 
a foot or two, and kept open by means of a stick. 

Round the three sides of this room are ranged the 
treasured valuables of the Dyaks — old jars, some of which 
are of great value, and brass gongs, and guns. Their cups 
and plates are hung up in rows flat against the walls. 
The flooring is the same as that of the veranda, and is 
made of split palm or bamboo tied down with cane. 
The floor is swept after a fashion, the refuse falling 
through the flooring to the ground underneath. But 
the room is stuffy, and not such a pleasant place as the 
open veranda. The pigs and poultry occupy the waste 
space under the house. 

From the hilik there is a ladder which leads to an upper 
room, or loft (sadau), where they keep their tools and 
store their paddy. If the family be a large one, the 
young unmarried girls sleep in this loft, the boys and 
young men sleeping outside in the veranda. 


Both men and women are industrious and hard-working. 
With regard to the paddy-planting on the hills, the work 
is divided between the men and women m the following 
manner. The men cut down the jungle where the paddy 
is to be planted. When the timber and shrubs have been 
burnt, the men and women plant the grain. The roots 
of the trees are left m the ground. The men walk in 
front, with a long heavy staff in the right hand of each, 
and make holes in the ground about a foot apart. The 
women walk behind them and throw a few grains of seed 
in each hole. 

When the paddy has grown a little, the ground has to 
be carefully weeded ; this work is done by the women. 
When the crop is ripe, both men and women do the 
reaping. They walk between the rows of standing grain, 
and with a sharp, oddly-shaped little knife they cut off 
the heads one by one, and place them in their baskets, 
which are tied in front of them. The carrying home of 
the paddy thus reaped is mostly done by the men, who 
can carry very heavy loads on their backs, though the 
women help in this to some extent. The next thing is to 
separate the grain from the little tiny stems to which it is 
still attached. This is done by the men. The grain is 
put on a large square sieve of rattan fixed between four 
posts in the veranda of the Dyak house, and the men 
tread on it and press it through the sieve. The paddy 
that falls through is taken and stored in the loft m large 
round bins made of bark. 

When rice is wanted for food, the paddy is dried, and 
then pounded by the women in wooden mortars, with 
pestles live feet long. As a rale two or three women each 
use their pestle.i at one mortar, which is cut out of the 
trunk of a tree. I have seen as many as six girls using 

Dyak Girl's Pouxdixg Rice 

After the paddy has been passed through the husking mill it is pounded out in wooden mortars. 
Here are two girls at work. Each has her right foot in the upper part of the morta 

any grains of paddy that may be likely to fall out. 

le mortar to kick back 

A Husking Mill (A'lsar) 

After the paddy is dried and before it is 
pounded, it is generally passed through a 
husking mill made in two parts— the lower half 
having a stem in the middle which fits into the 
upper part, which is hollow. The paddy is put 
into a cavity in the upper half, and a man or 
woman seizes the handles and works the upper 
half to the right and left alternately. The 
paddy drips through on to the mat on which this 
husking mill is placed. 

Drying Paddy 

Before it is possible to rid the paddy of its husk 
and convert it into rice, it has to be dried in the 
sun. Here a woman is seen spreading out the 
paddy on a mat with her hands. She is on 
the outside veranda of the Dyak house {tanju). 
The long pole over her head is used by her to 
drive away the fowls and birds who may come 
to eat the paddy put out to dry. 


their pestles in quick succession at one mortar. In this 
way the grain is freed from husk, and is made ready for 

Each family farms its own piece of land. Much of 
such work as cutting down the jungle and plantmg is done 
by a combination of labour, several families agreeing to 
work for each other in turn. By this means all the 
planting on the land belonging to a particular family is 
done in one day, and all the grain ripens at the same 

When the Dyaks wish to abandon an old habitation in 
favour of a new one, a general meeting of the inhabitants 
is held to consider the matter, and the desirability of 
building a new house is fully discussed. Sometimes it 
happens that some families do not agree with the wishes 
of the majority, and these families split off and join 
another house. If a move be decided on, a few experi- 
enced men are deputed to choose a site, and to report on 
its adaptability. There are several matters to be taken 
into account. The site must be for preference on rising 
ground, and be near a good supply of water. There must 
also be some jungle near, where the inmates can get their 
firewood, and there must be large tracts of land not far 
away where they can plant their paddy. 

When the new house has to be built on the low-lying, 
marshy ground in the lower reaches of the river, the 
choice is not difficult. All that is necessary is to choose 
a part of the river where the current is not very strong. 
But in the hill country it is not easy to find a site where 
the ground is fairly level, and can accommodate a large 
house of thiity or forty families. 

Before building on the chosen site the omen birds are 
consulted. If the omens be favourable, all the men and 


lads turn out immediately with axes and choppers to cut 
down the trees of the jungle, which are then left to dry. 
Another meeting is then held to decide who is to be the 
tuai, or headman, of the new house, and to settle the size 
and the sequence of the rooms. The next move is to 
appoint a time for all the people to meet at the site of 
the new village. The ground is then cleared. All the 
timber is carried off, as it is considered unfortunate to 
burn it. The ground is measured out for the different 
rooms belonging to the different families, and pegs are 
put in where the posts have to stand. A piece of bamboo 
is then stuck in the ground, filled with water and covered 
with leaves. A spear and a shield are placed beside it, 
and the whole is surrounded by a wooden rail. The rail 
is to prevent the bamboo from being upset by wild 
animals, and the weapons are to warn strangers not to 
touch it. A few people remain to keep watch, and to 
make a great deal of noise with brass gongs and drums to 
frighten away the evil spirits. If in the early morning 
they find there is much evaporation, the place is con- 
sidered unhealthy, and is abandoned. If all be well, the 
building of the house is begun. Each famil}'- must kill a 
fowl or a pig before the holes for the posts can be dug, 
and the blood must be smeared on the sharpened ends and 
sprinkled on the posts to propitiate Pulang Gana, the 
tutelary deity of the earth. They begin by making the 
holes for the headman's quarters, and then work simul- 
taneously to left and right of it. The posts, of which 
there are a great number, are about twelve inches or less 
in diameter, and are of bilian or other hard wood so as not 
to rot in the earth. A hole four feet deep is made to 
receive each post. They must be planted carefully and 
firmly, for if one were to give way subsequently it would 


be regarded as foreboding evil, and the house would have 
to be abandoned and a new house built. 

All the men combine to labour collectively until the 
skeleton of the house is complete, and then every family 
turns its attention to its own apartments. During the 
building of the house, there is a great deal of striking of 
gongs and other noisy instruments to prevent any birds 
of ill omen bemg heard. I have sometimes argued with 
the Dyaks that if the warnings of the birds are to be 
trusted, then why make so much noise to prevent hearing 
them ? The Dyak's reply to this was that as long as they 
did not hear the warning, the spirits would not be dis- 
pleased at their not regarding it ; so to spare themselves the 
trouble of choosing another site and building another house, 
they make so much noise as to drown the cries of any birds. 

When the building is sufficiently advanced to receive 
the inmates, they pack up their possessions and convey 
them to the house, halting on the way till they have 
heard some favourable omen, after which they proceed 
joyfully. Their belongings must not be moved into the 
house before themselves, but must be taken with them 
when they move into the new house. 

House-building is considered the work of the men, and 
another important work the men have to do is the making 
of boats. These are of all sizes, from the dug-out canoe 
twelve feet long to the long war-boat eighty to ninety feet 
in length. 

The ordinary boats of the Dyaks are cut out of a single 
log. Some of my schoolboys, under the guidance of the 
native schoolmaster, once made a small canoe for their 
own use, so I saw the whole process. A tree having a 
round straight stem was felled, and the desired length of 
trunk cut off. The outside was then shaped with the 



adze to take the desired form of a canoe. Then the inside 
was hollowed out. The next thing to do was to widen 
the inside of this canoe. This was done by filling the 
boat with water and making a fire under it, and by fasten- 
ing weights to each side. When the shell had been 
sufficiently opened out, thwarts were placed inside, about 
two feet from each other, to prevent the wood shrinking 
when the wood dried. The stem and stern of the canoe 
are alike, both being pointed and curved, and rising out 
of the water. The only tool used for the making of 
a boat of this kind is the Dyak axe or adze (bliong). 

This is the usual type of Dyak boat, and the method of 
making a smaller or larger canoe is exactly the same. 
Even a war-boat, ninety feet long, is made from the trunk 
of one tree. In the longer boats planks or gunwales are 
stitched on the sides, and the seams are caulked so as to 
render the boat watertight. These boats are covered with 
awnings called kadjangs, which make a very good covering, 
as they are at once watertight, very light, easOy adjusted, 
and so flexible that if necessary each section can be rolled 
up and stored in the bottom of the boat. These kadjangs 
are made of the young leaves of the nipa palm. The 
leaves are sewn together with split cane, each alternate 
leaf overlapping its neighbour on either side, until a 
piece about six and a half feet square is made. This 
section is made to bend in the middle crosswise, so 
that it can be doubled and rolled up, or partly opened, 
and made to serve as a roof. Sometimes kadjangs are 
made from the leaves of the Pandanus palm. 

To propel these boats the Dyaks use paddles about 
three feet or more in length. The paddle used by the 
steersman is larger than those used by the others, and the 
women use much smaller paddles than the men. These 

4J T3 

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S S 



dug-out boats draw very little water, and are easily 
handled, and may be propelled at a good pace. 

In shallow streams and in the rapids up-river, the 
Dyaks use small canoes, which they propel with poles, 
standing up in the boat to do so. 

The principal tools the Dyaks have for their work are 
the duku and bliong. The duku is a short, thick sword, 
or, rather, chopping-knife, about two feet in length. The 
blade is either curved like a Turkish scimitar, or else quite 
straight. The handle is beautifully carved, and is made 
of hard wood or of horn. The duku is used in war as well 
as for more peaceful purposes. In the jungle it is indis- 
pensable, as without it the Dyak would not be able to go 
through the thick undergrowth which he is often obliged 
to penetrate. It is, moreover, used for all purposes 
where a knife or chisel is used, and is a warrior's blade 
as well as a woodman's hatchet. 

The bliong is the axe the Dyaks use, and is a most ex- 
cellent tool. They forge it of European steel, which they 
procure in bars. In shape it is like a small spade, about 
two and a half inches wide, with a square shank. This 
is set in a thin handle of hard wood, at the end of which 
there is a woven pocket of cane to receive it. The lower 
end of this handle has a piece of light wood fixed to it 
to form a firm grip for the hand. The bliong can be 
fixed in the handle at any angle, and is therefore used as 
an axe or adze. With it the natives make their boats, 
and cut planks and do much of their carpentering work. 
The Dyak can cut down a great forest tree with a bliong 
in a very short time. 

While the work of the men is to build houses and to 
make boats, the work of the women is to weave cloth 
and make mats. 


The clotli which the women weave is of two kinds, 
striped and figured. The former is made by employing 
successively tlu-eads of different colours in stretching the 
web. This is simple enough. The other pattern is 
produced by a more elaborate process. Undyed white 
thread is used, and the web stretched. The woman 
sketches on this the pattern which she wishes to appear 
on the cloth, and carefully notes the different colours for 
the different parts. If, for example, she wishes the 
pattern to be of three colours — blue, red, and white — 
she takes up the threads of the web in little rolls of about 
twenty threads, and carefully wraps a quantity of 
vegetable fibre tightly round those parts which are 
intended to be red or white, leaving exposed those parts 
which are intended to be blue. After she has in this 
manner treated the whole web, she immerses it in a blue 
dye made from indigo, which the Dyaks plant themselves. 
The dye takes hold of the exposed portions of the threads, 
but is prevented by the vegetable fibre from colouring the 
other parts. Thus the blue portion of the pattern is 
dyed. After it has been dried, the vegetable fibre is 
cut off, and the blue parts tied up, and only the portion 
to be dj^ed red exposed, and the web put into a red dye. 
In this way the red part of the pattern is obtained. By 
a similar method all the colours needed are produced. 
The weft is of one colour, generally light brown. 

Dyak weaving is a very slow process. The woman sits 
on the floor, and the threads of the weft are put through 
one by one. The cloth they make is particularly strong 
and serviceable. The women seem to blend the colours 
they use in a pleasing mamier, though there is a great 
sameness in the designs. 

Mats are made either with split cane or from the outer 


bark of reeds. The women are very clever at plaiting, 
and some of their mats have beautiful designs. 

They also make baskets of different sizes and shapes, 
some of which have coloured designs worked into them. 

Hunting is with the Dyaks an occasional pursuit. They 
live upon a vegetable rather than upon an animal diet. 
But in a Dyak house there are generally to be found one 
or two men who go out hunting for wild pig or deer on 
any days when they are free from their usual farm work. 
The Dyak dogs are small and tawny in colour, and 
sagacious and clever in the jungle. 

Native hunting with good dogs is easy work. The 
master loiters about, and the dogs beat the jungle for 
themselves. When they have found a scent, they give 
tongue, and soon run the animal to bay. The master 
knows from the peculiar bark of the dogs if they are 
keeping some animal at bay, and follows them and spears 
the game. The boars are fierce and dangerous when 
wounded, and turn furiously on the hunter, who often has 
to climb a tree to escape from their tusks. The dogs are 
very useful, and by attacking the hind legs of the animal 
keep making it turn round. 

Deer are more easily run down than pigs, because they 
have not the strength to go any great distance, especially 
in the hot weather. 

A favourite way of catching deer is to send a man to 
follow the spoor of a deer, and to find out where it lies 
to rest during the heat of the day. Then large nets 
made of fine cane are hung around, and the deer is driven 
into these by a large number of men, women, and boys 
making a noise. When the deer is caught in the net, he 
is soon killed. 

A variety of traps are made by the Dyaks to catch 


birds and wild animals. One of these traps (peti) set 
for killing wild pig is a dangerous contrivance by which 
many Dyaks have lost their lives. It consists of a spring 
formed by a stick being tied to the end of a post and 
pulled apart from it. The end of this stick is armed with 
a sharp bamboo spear. I have known of several men 
being killed by this trap, and in Sarawak this particular 
trap is forbidden by the Government to be set. 

The Sea Dyaks are very expert with the rod and line, 
and with them fishing is a favourite occupation. They 
begin fishing at an early age. For bait they use worms 
or certain berries. Their hooks are made of brass wire. 

Another method of fishing is by wooden floats (pelam- 
pong), generally cut in the form of a duck. Each has a 
baited hook fastened to it, and is set swimming down 
the stream. The owner of these floats drifts slowly in 
his canoe after them, watching, till the peculiar motions 
of any of these ducks shows that a fish has been hooked. 

The achar is a spoon-bait. A piece of mother-of-pearl 
shell or some white metal is cut in the form of a triangle. 
At the apex the line is attached, and at the base are 
fastened two or three hooks by a couple of inches of line. 
This appliance is generally used with a rod from the bows, 
and another man in the stern paddles the boat along. 

The Dyaks also have many varieties of fish-traps, 
which they set in the streams and rivers. Most of these 
are made of split bamboo. 

They also have nets of various kinds ; the most popular 
is the jala, or circular casting-net, loaded with leaden or 
iron weights in the circumference, and with a spread 
sometimes of twenty feet. Great skill is shown by the 
Dyak in throwing this net over a shoal of fish which he 
has sighted. He casts the net in such a manner that all 


the outer edge touches the water almost simultaneously. 
The weights cause it to sink and close together, encompas- 
sing the fish, and the net is drawn up by a rope attached 
to its centre, the other end of which is tied to the fisher- 
man's left wrist. The thrower of this net often stands 
on the bow of a small canoe, and shows great skill in 
balancing himself. The jala is used both in fresh and 
salt water, and can be thrown either from the bank of a 
river or by a man wading into the sea. 

But the most favourite mode of fishing among the 
Dyaks is with the tuba root (Cocculus indicus). Some- 
times this is done on a small scale in some little stream. 
Sometimes, however, the people of several Dyak houses 
arrange to have a tuba-^shmg. The men, women, and 
children of these houses, accompanied by their friends, 
go to some river which has been previously decided upon. 
A fence made by planting stakes closely together is 
erected from bank to bank. In the middle of this there 
is an opening leading into a square enclosure made in 
the same fashion, into which the fish enter when trying 
to escape from the tuba into fresh water. The canoes 
then proceed several hours' journey up the river, until 
they get to some place decided on beforehand. Here 
they stop for the night in small booths erected on the 
banks of the river. The small boats are cleared of every- 
thing in them so as to be ready for use the next day. 

All the people bring with them fishmg-spears and 
hand-nets. The spears are of various kinds — some have 
only one barbed point, while others have two or three. 
The shaft of the spear is made of a straight piece of bamboo 
about six feet long. The spear is so made that, when a 
fish is speared the head of the weapon comes out o£ the 
socket m the bamboo ; but as it is tied on to the shaft, 


it is impossible for the fish to escape. Even when the 
fisherman throws his spear at the fish, there is little 
chance of the fish escaping, because the bamboo bears it 
to the surface, and it is easy for the men to pick up the 
bamboo shaft and thus secure the fish. 

Most of the people brmg with them some tuha root, 
made up into small close bundles, the thickness of a man's 
wrist, and about six inches long. Early the next morn- 
ing some of the canoes are filled with water, and the root 
is beaten and dipped into it. For an hour or so fifty 
or more clubs beat a lively tattoo on the root bundles, as 
they are held to the sides of the boats. The tuba is 
dipped into the water in the boat, and wrung out from 
time to time. This gives the water a white, frothy 
appearance like soap-suds. The Dj^aks, armed with 
fish-spears and hand-nets, wait in readiness in their canoes. 
At a given signal the poisoned liquid is baled out into the 
stream, and the canoes, after a short pause, begin to drift 
slowly down the current. The fish are stupefied by the 
tuba, and as they rise struggling to the surface, are speared 
b}^ the Dyaks. The large fish are thus secured amid 
much excitement, several canoes sometimes making for 
the same spot where a large fish is seen. The women and 
children join m the sport, and scoop up the smaller fish 
with hand-nets. The tuha does not affect the flesh of the 
fish, which can be cooked and eaten. 

This form of fisliing, when carried out on a large scale, 
is always a great event among the Dyaks, because besides 
the large amount of fish secured on these occasions, there 
is always a great deal of fun and excitement, and it is 
looked upon as a pleasant sort of picnic. 

For superstitious reasons the Dj^aks do not interfere 
with the crocodile until he has shown some sign of his 


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2 2-S-2 2 


man-eating propensity. If the crocodile will live at peace 
with him, the Dyak has no wish to start a quarrel. If, 
however, the crocodUe breaks the truce and kills someone, 
then the Dyaks set to work to find the culprit, and keep 
OE catching and kUling crocodiles untU they find him. 
The Dyaks generally wear brass ornaments, and by 
cutting open a dead crocodile they can easily find out if 
he is the creature they wish to punish. Sometimes as 
many as ten crocodiles are killed before they manage to 
destroy the animal they want. 

There are some men whose business it is to catch 
crocodiles, and who earn their livmg by that means ; 
and whenever a human being has fallen a victim to one 
of these brutes, a professional crocodile catcher is asked 
to help to destroy the murderer. The majority of natives 
wUl not interfere with the reptiles, or take any part in 
their capture, probably fearing that if they did anythmg 
of the kind, they themselves may some time or other 
suffer for it by being attacked by a crocodile. 

The ordinary way of catching a crocodile is as follows. 
A piece of hard wood about an inch in diameter and 
about ten inches long, is sharpened to a point at each 
end. A length of plaited bark of the haru tree, about 
eight feet long, is tied to a shallow notch in the middle 
of this piece of wood, and a single cane or rattan, forty 
or fifty feet long, is tied to the end of the bark rope, and 
forms a long line. The most irresistible bait is the carcase 
of a monkey, though often the body of a dog or a snake 
is used. The more overpowering the stench, the greater 
is the probability of its being taken, as the crocodile will 
only swallow putrifying flesh. When a crocodile has 
fresh meat, he carries it away and hides it in some safe 
place until it decomposes. This bait is securely lashed 


to the wooden bar, and one of the pouited ends is tied 
back with a few turns of cotton to the bark rope, bringing 
the bar and rope into the same straight line. 

The next thing is to suspend the bait from the bough 
of a tree overhangmg the part of the river known to be 
the haunt of the animals. The bait is hung a few feet 
above the high-water level, and the rattan line is left 
Ij^ing on the ground, and the end of the rattan is planted 
in the soil. 

Several similar lines are set in different parts of the 
river, and there left for days, untU one of the baits is 
taken by a crocodile. Attracted either by the smell or 
sight of the bait, some animal raises itself from the water 
and snaps at the hangmg bundle, the slack line offering 
no resistance until the bait has been swallowed and the 
brute begins to make off. Then the planted end of the 
Ime holds sufficiently to snap the slight thread binding 
the pointed stick to the bark rope. The stick thus 
returns to its original position, at right angles to the line, 
and becomes jammed across the crocodile's stomach, the 
two sharpened points fixing themselves into the flesh. 

Next morning the trappers search for the missing traps, 
and seldom fail to find the coils of floating rotan, or cane, 
on the surface of some deep pool at no great distance 
from the place where they were set. A firm but gentle 
pull soon brings the crocodile to the surface, and if he be 
a big one, he is brought ashore, though smaller specimens 
are put directly into the boat, and made fast there. 

Sometimes the cotton holding the bar to the line fails 
to snap. In that case the crocodile, becoming suspicious 
of the long line attached to what he has swallowed, 
manages to disgorge the bait and unopened hook in the 
jungle, where it is sometimes found. But should the 


cotton snap and the bar fix itself in the animal's inside, 
nothing can save the brute. 

The formidable teeth of the crocodile are not able to 
bite through the rope attached to the bait, because the 
haru fibres of which the rope is made get between his 
pomted teeth, and this bark rope holds no matter how 
much the fibres get separated. 

Professional crocodile catchers are supposed to possess 
some wonderful power over the animals which enables 
them to land them and handle them without trouble. 
I have seen a man land a large crocodile on the bank by 
simply pulling gently at the Ime. But this is not sur- 
prising, as from the crocodile's point of view there is 
nothing else to do but follow, when every pull, however 
gentle, causes considerable pain. 

The rest of the proceeding is more remarkable. The 
animal is addressed in eulogistic language and beguiled, 
so the natives say, into offering no resistance. He is 
called a " rajah amongst animals," and he is told that he 
has come on a friendly visit, and must behave accordingly. 
First the trapper ties up its jaws — not a very dif&cult 
thing to do. The next thing he does appears to me not 
very safe. Still speaking as before in high-flown language, 
he tells the crocodile that he has brought rings for his 
fingers, and he binds the hind-legs fast behind the beast's 
back, so taking away from him his grip on the ground, 
and consequently his ability to use his tail. When one 
remembers what a sudden swing of the muscular tail 
means, one cannot help admirmg the man who coolly 
approaches a large crocodile for the purpose of tying his 
hind-legs. Finally the fore-legs are tied in the same way 
over the animal's back. A stout pole is passed under the 
bound legs, and the animal is carried away. He is taken 


to the nearest Government station, the reward is claimed, 
and he is afterwards cut open, and the contents of his 
stomach examined. 

Though the animal is spoken to in such flattering terms 
before he is secured, the moment his arms and legs are 
bound across his back and he is powerless for evil, they 
howl at him and deride him for his stupidity. 

The professional crocodile catchers are generally Malays, 
who are sent for whenever their services are required. 
But there are Dyaks who have given up their old super- 
stitious dread of the animal, and are expert crocodile 


General remarks — Kind to children — Industrious — Frugal — Honest — 
Two cases of theft — Curses — Honesty of children — Truthful — 
Curious custom — Tugong Bula — Hospitable — Morals — Desire for 
children — Divorce — Adultery — Dyak law concerning adultery — 
Dyak view of marriage — Unselfishness — Domestic affection — 

THE Dyaks are seen at their best in their own jungle 
homes, in the midst of their natural surroundings. 
The man who has only met the hangers-on of the 
towns has little idea of their true character. To one who 
knows them well, who has lived among them, and seen 
them at their work and at their play, there is something 
very attractive about the Dyaks. They are very human, 
and in many points are very like children, with the child's 
openness in telling his thoughts and showing his feelings, 
with the child's want of restraint in gratifying his wishes, 
the child's alternate moods of selfishness and affection, 
obedience and obstinacy, restlessness and repose. Like 
children, they live in the present, and take little thought 
for the future. Like children, they love passionately 
those who are kind to them, and trust absolutely those 
whom they recognize as their superiors. 

They are cheerful, merry, and pleasure-loving. Fine 
dress is a passion, and the love, in both men and women, 
for bright colours is very marked, and yet somehow the 



brilliant colours that are seen at a Dyak feast are not at 
all displeasing. They are fond of song ; the boatman 
sings as he paddles along. They are fond of games, and a 
Dyak feast is the occasion for playing many games, and 
for friendly trials of strength. They are fond of dancing, 
and the two Dyak dances — the Sword Dance and the 
War Dance — are always watched with interest by those 

They are, like most Orientals, apathetic, and have no 
desire to rise above their present condition. But they are 
truthful and honest, and are faithful to those who have 
been kind to them ; and these qualities cover a multi- 
tude of deficiencies, and are rather unusual in Eastern 

They are kind and affectionate to children, and in all 
the many years I lived in Borneo I did not meet a single 
instance of cruelty to children. They are considerate to 
the aged, and parents who are past work are generally 
kindly treated by their children and grandchildren. They 
are most hospitable to strangers, and offer them food and 
shelter. And yet these are the people who some sixty 
years ago were dreaded pirates and terrible head-hunters ! 
Their improvement under a kind and just Government has 
been wonderful. 

The Dyaks are industrious and hard-working, and in the 
busy times of paddy-planting they work from early in the 
morning till dusk, only stopping for a meal at midday. 
The division of labour between the men and the women 
is a very reasonable one, and the women have no more 
than their fair share of work. The men do the timber- 
felling, wood-cutting, clearing the land, house and boat 
building, carrying burdens, and the heavier work gener- 
ally. The women help in the lighter part of the farm 


work, husk and pound the rice they eat, cook, weave, 
make mats and baskets, fetch the water for their daily 
use from the well or river, and attend to the children. 

The Dyak is frugal. He does not as a rule seek to 
accumulate wealth, but he is careful of whatever he may 
earn. He plants each year what he supposes will produce 
sufficient rice to supply his own needs — a portion of this 
is for family consumption, a portion for barter for such 
simple luxuries as tobacco, salt fish, cloth, etc., and a 
third portion for hospitality. If he happen to have an 
exceptionally good harvest, he may sell some paddy, and 
the money thus obtained is not lavishly squandered, but 
saved with the object of investing in gongs or other 
brassware, old jars, etc., which do not decrease in value 
with age. On such occasions as feasts nearly all the 
food and drink used are home products or begged from 
friends. A Dyak drinks water as a rule, but if he takes 
alcohol in any form, it is a home-brewed rice spirit (tuak). 
To spend money upon anything which he can make for 
himself, or for which he can make a substitute, is, in his 
opinion, needless waste. 

The Dyak in his jungle home is remarkably honest. 
Families are often away from their homes for weeks at 
a time, living in little huts on their farms, and though no 
one is left in charge of their rooms, things are seldom 
stolen. Sometimes Dyaks become demoralized by asso- 
ciating with other races in the towns, but a case of theft 
among the Dyaks in their native wilds is indeed rare. 
I have not been able to discover any enactment of tradi- 
tional law which fixes the punishment for theft. It has 
not been necessary to deal with the subject at all. In 
my missionary travels in Borneo I have often left by 
mistake in a Dyak house some small thing like a soap- 


box, or a handkerchief, or a knife — things I know the 
Dyaks love — but it has alwaj'S been returned to me. 

With an experience of nearly twenty years in Borneo, 
during which I came into contact with thousands of the 
people, I have known of only two instances of theft 
among the Dyaks. One was a theft of rice. The woman 
who lost the rice most solemnly and publicly cursed the 
thief, whoever it might be. The next night the rice was 
secretly left at her door. The other was a theft of mone3^ 
In this case, too, the thief was cursed. The greater part 
of the mone}'' was afterwards found returned to the box 
from which it had been abstracted. Both these incidents 
show the great dread the Dyak has of a curse. Even an 
undeserved curse is considered a terrible thing, and, 
accordmg to Dyak law, to curse a person for no reason at 
all is a fineable offence. 

A Dyak curse is a terrible thing to listen to. I have 
only once heard a Dyak curse, and I am sure I do not 
want to do so again. I was travelling in the Saribas 
district, and at that time many of the Dyaks there had 
gone in for cofiEee-planting ; indeed, several of them had 
started coffee plantations on a small scale. A woman told 
me that someone had over and over again stolen the 
ripe coffee-berries from her plantation. Not only were 
the ripe berries stolen, but the thief had carelessly picked 
many of the young berries and thrown them on the 
ground, and many of the branches of the plants had been 
broken off. In the evening, when I was seated in the 
public part of the house with many Dyak men and women 
round me, we happened to talk about coffee-planting. 
The woman was present, and told us of her experiences, 
and how her coffee had been stolen by some thief, who, 
she thought, must be one of the inmates of the house. 


Then she solemnly cursed the thief. She began in a calm 
voice, but worked herself up into a frenzy. We all listened 
horror-struck, and no one interrupted her. She began by 
saying what had happened, and how these thefts had gone 
on for some time. She had said nothing before, hoping 
that the thief would mend his ways ; but the matter had 
gone on long enough, and she was gomg to curse the 
thief, as nothing, she felt sure, would make him give up 
his evil ways. She called on all the spmts of the waters 
and the hills and the air to listen to her words and to aid 
her. She began quietly, but became more excited as she 
went on. She said something of this kind : — 

" If the thief be a man, may he be unfortunate in all he 
undertakes ! May he suffer from a disease that does not 
kill him, but makes him helpless — always in pain — and a 
burden to others. May his wife be unfaithful to him, and 
his children become as lazy and dishonest as he is himself. 
If he go out on the war-path, may he be killed, and his head 
smoked over the enemy's fire. If he be boating, may his 
boat be swamped and may he be drowned. If he be out 
fishing, may an alligator kill him suddenly, and may his 
relatives never find his body. If he be cutting down a 
tree in the jungle, may the tree fall on him and crush him 
to death. May the gods curse his farm so that he may 
have no crops, and have nothing to eat, and when he begs 
for food, may he be refused, and die of starvation. 

" If the thief be a woman, may she be childless, or if 
she happen to be with child let her be disappointed, and 
let her child be still-born, or, better still, let her die in 
childbirth. May her husband be untrue to her, and 
despise her and ill-treat her. May her children all desert 
her if she live to grow old. May she suffer from such 
diseases as are peculiar to women, and may her eyesight 


grow dim as the years go on, and may there be no one to 
help her or lead her about when she is blind." 

I have only given the substance of what she said ; but I 
shall never forget the silence and the awed faces of those 
who heard her. I left the house early next morning, so I 
do not know what was the result of her curse — whether 
the thief confessed or not. 

The children are just as honest as their elders. A 
missionary used to visit certain stations once a quarter. 
At one of the stations he had a small native hut built for 
his accommodation. On one occasion some small Dyak 
bo^s came to him with three cents (less than one penny 
in value), which they said they wished to return to him. 
They had picked them up under the floor of his hut. 
They thought they had fallen through the open floor, 
and belonged to the missionary, and, as a matter of 
course, they wished to return the money to the owner. 
I have never had occasion to punish any of the schoolboys 
living in my house for theft. They had access to every- 
thing there was, but, though they had no scruples about 
asking for things, they never stole anything. 

The Dyaks are also very truthful. So disgraceful 
indeed do the Dyaks consider the deceiving of others 
by an untruth that such conduct is handed down to 
posterity by a curious custom. They heap up a pile of 
the branches of trees in memory of the man who has 
uttered a great lie, so that future generations may know 
of his wickedness and take warning from it. The persons 
deceived start the tugong hula — " the liar's mound " — by 
heaping up a large number of branches in some con- 
spicuous spot by the side of the path from one village 
to another. Every passer-by contributes to it, and at the 
same time curses the man in memory of whom it is. 


The Dyaks consider the adding to any tugong hula they 
may pass a sacred duty, the omission of which will meet 
with supernatural punishment, and so, however pressed 
for time a Dyak may be, he stops to throw on the pile 
some branches or twigs. 

A few branches, a few dry twigs and leaves — that is 
what the tugong bula is at first. But day by day it 
increases in size. Every passer-by adds something to it, 
and in a few years' time it becomes an imposing memorial 
of one who was a liar. Once started, there seems to be 
no means of destroying a tugong hula. There used to be 
one by the side of the path between Seratok and Sebetan . 
As the branches and twigs that composed it often came 
over the path, on a hot day in the dry weather I have 
more than once applied a match to it and burnt it down. 
In a very short time a new heap of branches and twigs 
was piled on the ashes of the old tugong hula. 

It has often been remarked by Dyaks that any other 
punishment would, if a man had his choice, be much pre- 
ferred to having a tugong hula put up in his memory. 
Other punishments are soon forgotten, but this remains 
as a testimony to a man's untruthfulness for succeeding 
generations to witness, and is a standing disgrace to his 
children's children. Believing, as the Dyaks do, in the 
efficacy of curses, it is easy to understand how a Dyak 
would dread the accumulation of curses which would 
necessarily accompany the formation of a tugong 

The Dyaks are very hospitable. They are always 
ready to receive and entertam strangers. A man travel- 
ling on foot through the Dyak country need never trouble 
about food. He would be fed at the Dyak houses he 
passed on his journey, as part of their crops is reserved 


to feed visitors. When the family meal is ready, visitors 
are invited to partake of it. If many visitors come to a 
house at the same time, some have their meal with one 
family and some with another. 

The morals of the Dyak from an Eastern point of view 
are good. There is no law to punish immorality between 
unmarried people. The parents do not seem to be strict, 
and it is considered no disgrace for a girl to be on terms 
of intimacy with the youths of her fancy until she has 
made her final choice. It is supposed that every young 
Dyak woman will eventually marry, so her duty is 
plainl}^ to choose a husband in her youth from among the 
many men she knows. And yet, for all this, I should say 
that promiscuous immorality is unknown. It is true that 
very often a girl is with child before her marriage, but 
from the Dyak point of view this is no disgrace if the 
father acknowledges the child and marries the woman. 
The greatest desire of the Dyak is to become a parent, 
to be known as father or mother of So-and-so. They 
drop then' own names after the birth of a child. A young 
couple in love have no opportunities of private meetings 
exceptmg at night, and the only place is the loft where 
the young lady sleeps. The suitor pays his visit, there- 
fore, when the rest of the family are asleep, and she gets 
up from her bed and receives him. Two or three hours 
may be spent in her company before he leaves her, or if 
he should be one whom she is not willing to accept as a 
husband, she soon gives him his dismissal. If acceptable, 
the young man may be admitted to such close intimacy 
as though they were already married. The reason is to 
ascertain the certainty of progeny. On his departure he 
leaves with the young lady some ornament or article of 
his attire, as a pledge of his sincerity and good faith. On 



the first signs of pregnancy the marriage ceremony takes 
place, and they are man and wife. 

Divorce is very uncommon after the birth of a child, 
but where there are no children, for such reasons as in- 
compatibility of temper or idleness, divorce is obtainable 
by either husband or wife by paying a small fine. The 
women as a rule are faithful to their husbands, especially 
when they have children, and adultery is very uncommon 
when there is a family. 

The Dyak law respecting adultery is peculiar and 
worthy of notice. If a woman commit adultery with a 
married man, his wife may make a complaint to the head- 
man of the house, and receive a fine from the guilty 
woman ; or, if she prefer it, she may waylay the guilty 
woman and thrash her ; but if she do so, she must forgo 
one-half of the fine otherwise due to her. In the eyes of 
the Dysbk the woman is alone to blame in a case like this. 
" She knew," they say, " the man has a wife of his own ; 
she had no business to entice him away from her." If a 
married man commits adultery with an unmarried woman 
the procedure is similar. The wife of the man may 
punish the girl, but no one punishes the man. The whole 
blame, according to Dyak ideas, falls on the woman for 
tempting the man. 

If a married man commits adultery with a married 
woman, the husband of the woman is allowed to strike 
him with a club or otherwise maltreat him, while the 
v/ife of the adulterer has the right to treat the adulteress 
in the same wa3^ The innocent husband supposes the 
one most to be blamed is not his wife, but her tempter, 
and vice versa. This striking must not, however, take 
place in a house ; it must be done in the open. The club 
used must not be of hard wood. Very often this striking 


is merely a means of publishing the fact that adultery 
has been committed, and no one is much hurt, but I 
have known cases where the man has been very badly 
wounded. No striking can take place after the matter 
has been talked about or confessed, and if one knew for 
certain of a case of adultery, one could easily stop this 
maltreatment of each other by talking about it publicly. 
The case is then settled by fining the guilty parties. 
Where both parties are married, and no divorce follows, 
the fining is no punishment, because each party pays to 
the other. 

The Dyak view of the marriage state, especially where 
there are children, is by no means a low one. Though 
an Oriental people living in a tropical climate, their own 
traditional law allows a man to have only one wife. If, 
as sometimes is the case, a couple continue to live 
together after one of them has committed adultery, it is 
due to the fact that there are little children whom they 
do not want to part with, and not because they think 
lightly of the crime of adultery. 

The Dyaks are very unselfish, and show a great deal of 
consideration for each other. They live together under 
one roof in large communities. Though each family has 
a separate room, all the rooms are usually connected one 
with another by little windows in the partition walls. 
This communal life accounts for the good-nature and 
amiability of the Dyaks. The happiness and comfort, to 
say nothing of the safety, of the community in times past, 
depend largely on their getting on well one with another. 
Therefore, as a natural result, there has grown up a great 
deal of unselfish regard for each other among the inmates 
of the Dyak village house. 

Domestic affection between the different members of 


one family is very great. Especially is this the case 
between parents and children. An old father or mother 
need never work unless they like. Their children will 
provide for them. 

Parents will risk their lives for their children. At 
Semulong, near Banting, a man and his son, a youth about 
twenty years old, were returning from their farm, and 
had just arrived at the landing-place. The father stepped 
out of the canoe, washed his feet on the river-bank, and 
then turned to speak to his son in the boat. But the 
son had disappeared. The father at once guessed that 
a crocodile had taken him, though he had heard no noise. 
He shouted for help from the village house, and at once 
jumped into the water. He dived, and felt his hand 
strike the crocodile. Drawing his short sword (duku), 
he attacked the animal. He managed to drive the point 
of his sword into the animal, when the beast let go his 
son. The father brought him at once to the nearest 
mission-station, where he was treated, but after ten days 
died of tetanus. The inner part of the thigh and knee 
of one leg was torn away, so as to expose the ragged ends 
of sinews under the knee. 


Head-hunting — Women an incentive — Gruesome story — Marriage of 
Dyak Chiefs — Legend — Some customs necessitating a human head 
— A successful head-hunter not necessarily a hero — A dastardly 
crime — War expeditions — The spear token — My experience at 
a village in Krian — Dyak war-costume — Weapons — The Svmpit — 
Poison for darts — Consulting omen birds — War-boats — Camping — 
War Council — Defences — War alarm — Ambushes — Decapitation 
and treatment of head — Return from a successful expedition — 
Women dancing — Two Christian Dyak Chiefs — Their views on the 
matter of head-taking. 

WARFARE is an important element among all 
savage races, and the Dyaks are no exception to 
the rule. But it would be wrong to suppose that 
they are naturally abnormally bloodthirsty because head- 
hunting was such a regular practice with them. Mere 
love of fighting is not the only reason for the terrible 
custom of head-hunting which at one time prevailed to 
such a great extent among the Dyaks, but which at 
present, under the rule of Rajah Brooke, is fast dying out. 
There are many other causes. Theft committed by one 
tribe against another, revenge for the murder of some of 
their friends, and a thousand other mmor pretexts, are 
often the origin of an expedition of one tribe against 
another. The Dyaks are faithful, hospitable, just, and 
honest to their friends, and, being so, it naturally follows 
that they avenge any act of injustice or cruelty to them, 



and they are consequently bloodthirsty and revengeful 
against their enemies, and willing to undergo fatigue, 
hunger, want of sleep, and other privations when on the 
war-path. I have often been told by Dyaks that the 
reason why the young men are so anxious to bring home 
a human head is because the women have so decided a 
preference for a man who has been able to give proof of 
his bravery by killing one of the enemy. 

The desire to appear brave in the eyes of his lady-love 
sometimes leads a young man to mean and cowardly 
crimes. The following gruesome incident actually took 
place many years ago. A young man in the Batang 
Lupar started by himself to seek for a head from a 
neighbouring tribe. In a few days he came back with 
the desired prize. His relatives asked him how it was 
he was able to get to the enemy's country and back in 
such a short time. He replied gravely that the spirits 
of the woods had assisted him. About a month after- 
wards a headless trunk was discovered near one of their 
farms. It was found to be the body of his victim, an 
old woman of his own tribe, not very distantly related 
to himself ! 

In the old days no Dyak Chief of any standing could 
be married unless he had been successful in procuring 
the head of an enemy. (See also Chapter XXII.) For 
this reason it was usual to make an expedition into the 
enemy's country before the marriage-feast of any great 
Chief could be held. The head brought home need not 
be that of a man ; the head of a woman or a child would 
serve the purpose quite as well. 

There is a legend related among the Dyaks as a reason 
for this custom. Once upon a time a young man loved 
a maiden, but she refused to marry him until he had 


brought to her some proof of what he was able to do. 
He went out Imnting and killed a deer, and brought it 
to her, but still she would have nothing to say to him. 
He went again into the jungle, and, to show his courage, 
fought and killed a mias (orang-utan), and brought it 
home as a proof of his courage ; but still she turned away 
from him. Then, in anger and disappointment, he rushed 
out and killed the first man he saw, and, throwing the 
victim's head at the maiden's feet, he blamed her for 
the crime she had led him to commit. To his surprise, 
she smiled on him, and said to him that at last he had 
brought her a worthy gift, and she was ready to marry 

It is sometimes stated that, according to ancient 
custom, no Dyak could marry without having first pro- 
cured a human head as a token of his valour. This is 
not true. It was only in cases of the great men — their 
Chiefs — that such a thing was necessary. A little con- 
sideration will show how impossible it was for every man 
who married to be the owner of the head of some human 

There were certain ancient customs which necessitated 
the possession of a human head. When any person died 
the relatives went into mourning. They put away their 
ornaments and finery, which were tied together in bundles. 
At the feast in honour of the dead — Begawai Anfu — these 
were all undone, and the women and men put on their 
finery again. Some man cut the string with which they 
were tied up. Before he could do such a thing, it used 
to be necessary that a human head be brought into the 
house, and it was usual for the man who had obtained 
that head to take a leading part in the ceremonies and 
cut open the bundles. 

y- ?, 


Again, it was customary in some tribes to bring home 
a head as an offering to the spirits when a new village 
was to be built. 

Both these customs are no longer observed. At 
the feast in honour of the dead — Begawai Anfu — 
the headman of the house generally cuts open the 
bundles of finerj^ that have been put away, and at 
the building of a new house the killing of a pig is 
supposed to be sufficient to satisfy the demands of the 

It is presumed that a man who has secured a human 
head must necessarily be brave. But this need not be 
the case at all, for, as has been said, the head of a woman 
or child will serve the purpose. And these heads need 
not be obtained in open warfare. Very often the head 
of an enemy is taken while he is asleep. Nor is it 
necessary that a man should kill his victim with his 
own hand. Frequently many of his friends assist him in 
killing some unfortunate man whom they have waylaid, 
and then he comes home with the head, and poses as a 
hero ! 

It was customary in the old days to announce an 
expedition that one tribe intended to take against 
another at one of their feasts, when the village was 
thronged with guests from far and near. Some great 
Chief would advance his reason for the intended attack. 
Either some of his people had been slain, and revenge was 
called for, or else they wished to put off their mourning, 
and for that required a human head taken in war. 
Perhaps the reason was that they intended to build a 
new village house, and so required some human heads 
to use as offerings to the spirit of the land ; or possibly 
he himself wished to marry, and wanted a head as a 


proof of his valour in the eyes of his lady-love. Among 
the crowd who listened to him there were sure to be 
many who were willing to follow him on the war-path. 
The women would help him by urging their husbands, or 
lovers, or brothers, to go. Out of the crowd of eager 
followers the Chief would choose a certain number to 
form a Council of War. These would discuss the whole 
matter, and it would be decided when the party was to 
start for the enemy's country. Details would also be 
discussed — how much food each man was to take with 
him, by what route they were to go. The time of the 
year generally chosen would be just after the planting 
season, because that would give the men a clear three 
months before the harvest. The weeding of the paddy- 
fields between the planting season and the harvest is 
work that is usually done by the women. 

The next thing to do would be to send the War Spear 
round to the neighbouring villages, to let all know when 
the expedition was to take place, and where it was to 
start from. A man would bring this spear to a long 
Dyak house, deliver his message, and return, leaving 
the spear to be carried on by one of the men in that house 
to the next village, and so on. At once the men in the 
house would get their war-boats ready. They would 
begin making figure-heads for the bows of their boats, 
and paint the side planks in various patterns. They 
would furbish up their arms, and sharpen their weapons, 
and decorate their helmets and war- jackets. The Dyaks 
generally wear their best when going out to fight. I 
asked a Dyak once why this was done, because, as I 
pointed out to him, most of the finery they put on inter- 
fered with the free action of their limbs. His answer 
was that if they were well dressed, in case of their death, 


the enemy who saw the bodies would know that they were 
not slaves, but free men of some standing. 

In the present day, under the rule of Rajah Brooke, 
no Sea Dyaks may go out on a fighting expedition unless 
called out for that purpose by the Government. I re- 
member not long ago that there were some rebels in the 
upper reaches of the Batang Lupar River, who had been 
guilty of man}^ murders, and would not submit to the 
Government. After trying milder measures without any 
effect, it was decided to take a force into their country, 
and the Government sent round the War Spear to let the 
people of the different villages know they were to be ready 
to go on expedition at a certain date. I happened to be 
in a Dyak village in the Krian. It was evening, and I 
was seated on a mat in the open veranda of the house, 
and round me were seated a crowd of men and women, 
whom I was trying to teach. A man arrived at the 
house with a spear decorated with red cloth. At first 
no one noticed him. He spoke to a man near the top of 
the ladder of the house. The man came up to the middle 
of the house, where I was seated, and said somethmg 
which I did not quite catch. At once the whole crowd 
got up and left me. They listened eagerly to what the 
man who brought the spear had to say. I was not left 
long in doubt of what it all meant. The message the man 
brought was short and to the point : " You are to be ready 
with your war-boats, and be at Simanggang at the next 
full moon. There is to be an expedition up the river." 

It is difficult for me to describe the change that came 
over the crowd. The headman of the house at once 
asked a youth to carry on the spear to the next house 
with the same message. The men at once discussed the 
question of war-boats, and it was decided there and then 


that they should begin making a new war-boat the next 
day. The women were just as excited about the expedi- 
tion as the men, and there was a general turnmg out of 
war-caps and war-jackets which had long been put away. 

The costume a Dyak wears when going on the war- 
path consists of a basket-work cap decorated with feathers 
and sometimes with human hair, a sleeveless skin jacket, 
or in place of it a sleeveless quilted cotton jacket, and the 
usual Dyak costume of the waist-cloth (sirat). For 
weapons they have a sword, or duku. This may be of 
foreign or of their own make. It is a dangerous weapon 
at close quarters, and is what they use to cut off the head 
of a fallen enemy. They also have a spear, consisting 
of a long wooden shaft of some hard wood with a steel 
spear-head, which is tied on to the shaft with rattan. 
Sometimes the shaft of the spear is the sumpit, or blow- 
pipe. For defensive purposes the Dyak has a large 
wooden shield about three feet long, which, with its 
handle, is hollowed out of a single block of wood. It is 
held in the left hand well advanced before the body, and 
meant not so much to receive the spear-point as to divert 
it by a twist of the hand. It is often painted in bright 
colours, with some elaborate design or fantastic pattern, 
and often decorated with human hair. 

The sumpit, or blowpipe, is a long wooden tube about 
eight feet long. The smoothness and straightness of 
the bore is remarkable. The hole is drilled with an iron 
rod, one end of which is chisel-pomted, through a log of 
hard wood, which is afterwards pared down, and rounded 
till it is about an inch in diameter. 

The dart used with the sumpit is usually made of a 
thin splinter of the wood of the nibong palm, stuck into 
a round piece of very light wood, so as to afford a surface 

A Dyak in War Dress 

Holding up his shield in readiness to receive the attack of the 
enemy. He is holding his sword in his right hand. The shield 
is decorated with human hair. 

Hu.MAN Heads 

The heads of slain enemies are smoked and preserved and looked upon as valuable 
possessions. The above is a bunch of old heads as they appear hanging from the 
.rafters of a Dyak house. 


for the breath to act upon. These darts are sharpened 
to a fine pomt, and are carried in neatly carved bamboo 

The poison that is used for these dai-ts is obtained from 
the epoh tree (upas). Incisions are made in the tree, and 
the gutta which exudes is collected and cooked over 
a slow fire on a leaf until it assumes the consistency of 
soft wax. It is a potent and deadly poison. Some 
Dyaks say that the most deadly poison is made of a 
mixture of the gum from the epoh tree and that from some 

A dart is put in at one end, and the sumpit is lifted to 
the mouth, and with the breath the dart is driven out. 
Up to twenty-five yards they shoot with accuracy, but 
though the darts can be sent fifty yards or more, at any 
distance greater than twenty-five yards their aim is 

Before starting on a war expedition, the Dyaks consult 
the omen birds. The headman of the village, with the 
help of a few chosen friends, builds a little hut at a con- 
venient distance from the Dyak house, and stays there, 
listening to the voices of the birds. If the first omens 
he hears are unfavourable, he continues living there until 
he hears some bird of good omen. When this happens, 
the men get ready their war-boats and start for the 
appointed meeting-place. 

The war-boat is generally made in the same way as 
the Dyak dug-outs in ordinary use, out of the trunk of 
one large tree, only it is very much larger and longer, 
and able to hold sixty men or more. They paint this 
boat with a pattern of red and white — the red is an ochre 
and the white is lime. It is propelled with paddles, and 
the steering is done with one or two greatly developed 


fixed paddles, which the steersman works with his foot 
if he happens to be standing up. 

Sometimes the war-boat is built of planks in the 
folloA\ing manner. First they make a long lunas, or keel 
plank, of hard wood the whole length of the boat. This 
has two ledges on each side on its upper surface, each 
about an inch from the edge of the keel. Then several 
planks are made, all of which are also the entire length 
of the boat. Each plank has an inside ledge on its upper 
edge, its lower edge being quite plain. When the Dyaks 
have made as manj' planks as are necessary, they put 
them together in the followmg manner. The keel plank 
is put in position, then the first side-planks are brought 
and placed with their lower or plam edges upon the two 
ledges of the keel planks. The ledge of the first side-plank 
receives in turn the next plank, and so on, till they have 
enough planks, generally four or five, on each side. The 
ledges and the planks next to them are bored, and firm 
rattan lashings are passed from one to the other. The 
seams are caulked up so as to render the boat watertight. 
In the construction of a boat of this kind no nails or bolts 
are emploj^ed — nothing but planks ingeniously fastened 
together with cane or rattan. These lashings are not 
very durable, as the rattans soon get rotten. But this 
is of little consequence, as the boat is only used for war 
expeditions, and on her return the lashings are cut, and 
the separated planks are stored in the Dyak house. 
When she is again requued, the planks are got out and 
the boat reconstructed as before. 

This kind of war-boat is not often seen nowadays. 
It is clumsy, and does not travel very fast. In the 
whole of m}'^ experience I have only seen one boat of this 
kind in course of construction. 


Dyak war-boats hold from thirty to a hundred men. 
When filled with dusky warriors with naked arms and 
legs just visible beneath the palm-leaf awning, paddling 
with a regular, vigorous stroke, with their Chief standing 
in the stern working the rudder with hand or foot, they 
form a grand sight. 

When all the boats have arrived, a start is made for 
the enemy's country. The line of advance is most 
irregular. There are wide gaps between the boats, some 
lagging behind to cook or fish, and others, deterred by 
bad dreams or unpropitious omens, waiting a day or two 
before moving on. 

When the landing-place of the enemy is reached, a 
camp is formed, and temporary huts are built lining the 
river bank. The warriors lie down to rest side by side. 
Their spears are stuck in the ground near them, and their 
shields and swords are by their side, so that they can 
spring to their feet in a moment, ready for battle. The 
boats are hauled ashore and hidden in the brushwood, 
to be used again on the return journey. 

A War Council is held and the route decided upon, and 
the best way to attack the enemy discussed. On a given 
day the march commences, each shouldering his pack con- 
taining a cooking-pot, rice, etc. The pace is more or 
less rapid as long as they are far from the enemy, but 
slackens when they come nearer. The leaders proceed 
warily, as the enemy may be in ambush by the way. 

The Dyaks who are expecting an attack defend their 
houses with a strong palisading of hard wood, strengthened 
by bamboo stakes fixed between the perpendicular posts, 
with the sharpened points projecting in all directions, 
presenting an impassable barrier of spikes to the invader. 
The whole is tied firmly together with rattan or creepers. 



This fence is about six feet high, and surrounds the whole 
vUlage. Two gates are made in it, but when these are 
closed, thej^ present the same appearance as the rest of 
the palisading. 

The landmg-places and approach to the village are all 
protected with sharpened spikes of bamboo or hard wood. 
Their valuables — their jars and brass gongs, etc. — they 
conceal in the jungle. 

If they feel confident that they are able to repel the 
attack of the enemy they keep the women and children 
at home. If there is any doubt about the matter, they 
too are hidden away in the forest, and when resistance 
becomes hopeless, they are rejoined by their relatives 
at some fixed rendezvous. 

The moment the enemy appears, the gongs are struck 
in a peculiar maimer, three strokes following each other 
very rapidly, a short pause, and then three strokes again, 
and so on. When the neighbours hear this, they recog- 
nize the signal, and know that their friends have been 
attacked, and they hurry to their help. 

A favourite stratagem of defence in the lower reaches 
of the river is to entice the leading boats of the enemy into 
an ambush on shore. There are sure to be some boats 
of the attacking party far in advance of the others, as 
they are anxious to be foremost in the fight. The de- 
fenders choose a convenient spot, and a strong party is 
placed in ambush among the trees. One or two men 
stroll upon the shingly bank to lure the enemy. As the 
warriors from the attacking boats leap ashore, the men 
in ambush spring from their hiding-place. They throw 
large stones at them, and break their wooden shields. 
They engage with swords and spears m a short and 
desperate conflict. As the main body comes round the 


bond of the river, whooping and _yelling, they plunge into 
the jungle with the heads that they have obtained, and 
are soon safely far away. 

The Dyaks do not attack a village or group of villagers, 
if their approach has been discovered and the people are 
on the defensive. Under these circumstances they con- 
tent themselves with cutting off stragglers, or hide near 
the waterside for people who are going to bathe or on 
their way to examine their fish- traps. These they attack 
unawares, cut down, take their heads, and flee into the 
jungle before the alarm can be given. 

In fighting the Dyak warriors gather round their Chiefs, 
and defend them bravely. Relatives often congregate 
together and help to defend each other. When one of 
them is killed, rather than allow the enemy to take his 
head, they decapitate him themselves, and bring his head 
back. When possible, they carry their dead and wounded 
away with them, but more often they only take their heads, 
and bury the bodies. 

The Sea Dyaks, after having severed the head at the 
neck, scoop out the brains with a bit of bamboo either 
through the nostrils or by the occipital hole, cover the 
eyes with leaves, and hang the head up to dry in the smoke 
of a wood fire. They cut off the hair to ornament their 
sword-hilts and sheaths, as well as their shields. 

Though cannibalism is not practised by the Dyaks, 
yet I have heard that sometimes a man who has taken 
a head eats a small piece from the cheek, in the hope of 
acquiring the bravery and virtues of the man killed. 
A Dyak in the Saribas district told me he attempted to 
eat a little of the brain of an enemy he had killed, but 
was unable to do so. Deep in the mind of the primitive 
man of every country lies the idea that he can acquire 


the attributes of another by eating his flesh or drinking 
his blood. The Dacota Indian, I am told, eats the heart 
of his slain enemy, and the New Zealander his eyes. It 
would appear that the Dyaks have the same idea. 

On the return from a war expedition, if the people of 
any particular boat have been fortunate enough to secure 
a human head, word is sent up to the Dyak village house 
of this fact, as soon as the boat reaches the landing-stage. 
The men remain in the boat, and wait there till all the 
women-folk from the house come to it, dressed in their 
best. Generally only the men dance, and the arrival of 
a boat bearing the ghastly trophy of a human head is 
the only occasion when the women dance. The excite- 
ment is great, and there are continual shouts of triumph 
as the women, singing a monotonous chant, surround the 
hero who has killed the enemy and lead him to the house. 
He is seated in a place of honour, and the head is put on 
a brass tray before him, and all crowd round him to hear 
his account of the battle, and how he succeeded in killing 
one of their foes and bringing home his head. 

From all that has been said, it will be seen how the 
Dyaks value the heads taken in war. They hang them 
over the fireplaces in the long open veranda of their 
houses, they make offerings to them, and they believe 
that the souls of those whom they have slain will be their 
slaves in the other world. I look upon it as a remarkable 
fact worthy of record that two great Dyak Chiefs who 
became Christians — one the Orang Kaya of Padih, 
Saribas, and the other, Tarang of Krian — should have 
taken such a decided step as to refuse to treasure their 
enemies' heads any more. They were both men of 
position, with a great reputation for bravery. The Orang 
Kaya buried all the heads he possessed, and gave out 


that none of his followers in a war expedition should bring 
back heads. Two of his grandchildren were at my 
school in Temudok for some years. A son of Tarang, 
Tujoh by name, worked as my catechist in Krian for 
some years. I asked him what his father did with the 
old heads he possessed when he refused to keep them 
himself. He told me that he did not think his father 
acted wisely in that matter. His relatives begged for 
the heads, and he gave them to them, and they did just 
what his father did not wish — made a feast in honour of 
these heads, and treasured them ! 

While so many Dyak Christians are most unwilling 
to give up their old heathen customs, these two Christian 
Dyak Chiefs happily took up the right attitude in such 
an important matter in the eyes of the Dyaks as head- 


Social position of the women — Dyak food — Meals — Cooking food in 
bamboo — Law with regard to leaving a Dyak house — Rule of the 
headman — A Dyak trial — Power of the headman in old days — 
Dj'ak wealth — Valuable jars — Gusi — Naga — Busa — A convenient 
dream — Trading incident at Sebetan — Land tenure — Laws about 
fruit-trees — Slavery — Captives in war — Slaves for debt. 

THE Dyak woman does not hold, as in most Eastern 
countries, an inferior and humiliating position. As 
has already been stated, the women do no more than 
a fair share of the work : they cook, make garments and 
mats, help in the lighter part of farm work, and husk 
and pound the grain. The men do the timber-felling, 
wood-cutting, clearing of the land, house and boat 
building, and all the heavier work. 

When the Dyaks meet together to discuss any matter 
such as the advisability of migratmg to a new house, the 
women are allowed to take part m the discussion. 
Generally the men sit round in a circle, and behind them 
are the women and children. And it is no unusual 
thing to hear a woman express an opinion, and her 
remarks are listened to with deference by the men. 

The Dyak women have no reason to complain of their 
lot. Their wants are few and easily satisfied. They may 
have sometimes a little more than their fair share of 
work, but this is always the case where the men spend 



much time on the war-path, and as the women keep the 
men up to the mark m this respect, and often will not 
marry a man who has not been successful in war, they 
are scarcely to be pitied if extra work fall to their lot 
during the time the men are away fighting. 

The women are earlier risers than the men, and retire 
to bed earlier. They generally go to the river as soon as 
they wake, carrying their water-gourds with them. They 
have a bath, fill their gourds with water, and return to 
the house to cook the morning meal. 

The principal article of food is rice, which is cooked in 
brass or iron pots. When the rice is ready, it is put out 
on plates. They eat with their rice either vegetables or 
fish. Sometimes they have the flesh of wild pig or 
venison, but that is not usual. A favourite method of 
cooking is to put the proper quantity of fish or vegetables 
or meat with sufficient water and a little salt into a newly- 
cut bamboo. The mouth is then stopped up with leaves, 
and the bamboo is placed over the fire, resting on a stone 
at an angle of 45 degrees or more. By the time the 
bamboo is thoroughly charred the contents are suffi.ciently 
cooked, and it is taken from the fire and. emptied out into 
a plate. Sometimes rice is cooked in bamboos, and when 
it is ready to be eaten, the bamboo is split and torn off 
in strips, when the rice is found well cooked inside — a stiff 
mass moulded in the form of the bamboo. 

When the food is ready and put out in plates, the men 
are asked to come into the room and eat. Sometimes the 
women eat with the men ; but if there are too many to 
eat comfortably at one sitting, the men have their meal 
first, and the women eat with the children after the men 
have done . 
The Dyaks all sit on the floor, which also serves as 


their table. They have their rice on plates, or sometimes 
upon clean leaves. They eat with their fingers, dipping 
the hand when necessary into the common stock of salt, 
or common dish of meat or vegetables. They eat with 
their right hand, compressing the rice into portions of 
convenient size. 

Nearly every animal is eaten by the Dyaks ; fish, 
venison, and pork are eaten by all, but many tribes eat 
monkeys, snakes, and even crocodiles. 

When breakfast is over, they clean the crockery and 
put it away. The mats are swept and taken up, and the 
refuse thrown through the open floor for the pigs and 
poultry under the house to eat. 

Each long Dyak village house has its headman, who 
generally occupies a room in the middle of the house. 
He is called the tuai rumah — " the old man or chief of the 
house " — and he settles all disputes among the inmates, 
and decides the amount of the fine the guUty party has 
to pay. Great deference is paid to him, and as a general 
rule his people abide by his decisions. But his power is 
only one of persuasion, and depends upon his personal 
ability and sense of justice. He cannot in any way 
coerce his people into obedience. Upon the prestige and 
conduct of this tuai rumah depends the number of families 
a Dyak house contains. If he be a man of strong personal 
character, clear-headed, and upright in his dealings, many 
will settle under him. If he be otherwise, he will quickly 
lose the families living in his house. They will migrate to 
other houses where the headman is one they admire and 

There arc certain laws among the Dyaks with regard to 
a family leaving a house. If a new house is to be built, 
any families of the former inmates may refuse to make 


their home in the new house, and may join some other 
village or decide to build a house for themselves. If a 
family wish to leave a house at any other time, they 
must not only leave the posts, roof, and flooring of their 
part of the house, but they must undertake to keep these 
in repair until such a time as the house is pulled down 
and a new one built. 

The Sea Dyak admmistration of law among themselves 
by the headman of the house has its advantages. Dis- 
putes are settled at once and on the spot. Unfortunately 
sometimes prejudice and the ties of relationship impede 
the carrying out of justice, but more often the Chiefs are 
peculiarly alive to the advantage of a just administration, 
which never fails to secure the aid and support of the 
majority of the people. 

I have often been present when some small dispute was 
settled by the headman of a Dyak house. Both parties 
and their friends sat on mats in a circle before the Chief. 
Each party had their say ; the headman asked a few 
questions. Then he pronounced judgment somewhat 
after this fashion. He began by saying that as the dis- 
putants were living in the same house — " brothers and 
sisters " so to speak — it was not necessary to inflict a 
heavy punishment ; all that was needed was to impose a 
small fine to show which was in the wrong, and one party 
must pay the other a fine of so many cups or so many 
plates as the case required. 

Whenever I have been present, the fine was cheerfully 
paid. The punishment, in fact, was very slight. Though 
the Government recognize this method of settling disputes 
among themselves, still, if Dyaks are discontented with the 
decision of their headmen, they can always bring their 
case for trial before the Government officer of the district. 


But this is seldom done. The fine imposed by the head- 
man is so small compared to that which would have to be 
paid if the case were tried elsewhere that the guilty party 
generally prefers to pay it cheerfully rather than appeal 
to the Government. 

If the dispute be between the inmates of one house and 
those of another, then the headmen of both houses have 
to be present at the trial. When matters are at 
all complicated, headmen from other houses are also 
asked to be present and help in the administration of 

I learn from conversations with the older Dyaks that 
in bygone days the power of the headman was much 
greater than it is now. Then he used to impose much 
heavier fines and take part of them himself for his trouble, 
and no Dyak dared to murmur against the decision of his 
Chief. In those days there was no court of appeal. The 
only means of protesting was to leave the house and build 
on to another, and in the old days such a thmg was not so 
easily done as at present. The Dyak houses were much 
longer and built much farther apart, and to join another 
house meant moving to a district very far away and 
cutting off all connection with relatives and friends. 

Wealth among the Dyaks is not so much the accumula- 
tion of money as the possession of brass gongs, guns, and 
valuable jars. Money is not used except by the inhabi- 
tants of the towns. The up-country Dyaks procure what 
they need by a system of barter, and in most of the 
shopping done in the Chinese bazaars near the Dyak 
villages no money passes hands at all. Silver coins are 
used by the Dyaks for making belts and bangles, and are 
often attached to the edge of the petticoats worn by the 
women at feasts and on other special occasions, and are 


esteemed only as ornaments. Brass ware of all kinds is 
much valued, especially old brass guns and gongs. 

The valuable jars (tajau) which the Dyaks prize so 
highly are in appearance much like the earthen water- 
pots that are manufactured in large numbers by the 
Chinese, and which cost from five to ten shillings. But 
closer examination shows certain differences. The Dyaks 
are prepared to pay exorbitant prices for a really old jar, 
and they venerate it and make offerings to it. The best 
known of these sacred jars are the Gusi, the Naga, and 
the Rusa. The first is the most valuable of the three. 
It is of a greenish colour, about eighteen inches high, and 
is much sought after. A good one would cost £80 or 
more. The Naga is about two feet high, and is called 
by that name because it is ornamented with Chinese figures 
of dragons, or naga. It is worth from eight to ten 
pounds. The Rusa is covered with the representation 
of some kind of deer {rusa), and is worth about four pounds. 
These prices, except the first, may not seem very great to 
our ideas, but when one remembers how poor the Dyaks 
are, they are very large amounts for them to pay for such 
fragile things as earthenware jars. 

The Gusi is always kept wrapped in cloth and treated 
with the greatest respect. People crawl in its presence, 
and touch it with the greatest care. At certain feasts 
a jar of this kind is brought out, and offerings are made to 
it. Besides being the abode of a spirit, it is supposed 
to possess marvellous qualities — one of them being that if 
anything be placed in it overnight, the quantity will 
increase before morning ; another, that food kept in a jar 
of this kind has peculiar medicinal virtues. 

When any of these sacred jars are bought, before 
brmging it into the room where it is to be kept an offering 


is alwaj^s made to it. A chicken is killed and the blood 
smeared on the jar. 

It is not laiown for certain where these jars originally 
came from. One theory is that many years ago a colony 
of Chinese settled in Borneo for a short period, and made 
these jars and then left the country. 

These old jars have been imitated by the Chinese, and 
many modern jars are very like the originals. A very 
profitable business is done by Malay traders, who, for 
one genuine old jar in their possession, have six or more 
modern jars. The Dyaks are very cautious about paying 
a large price for a doubtful article, but for all that they are 
often taken in. 

I was at a Dyak house in Saribas, and was shown a jar 
which a Malay trader had brought for sale. A Dyak had 
decided to buy it, the price had been agreed upon, and 
the trader was to come on the following day to receive it 
in brass guns, gongs, and money. The Dyaks, on examin- 
ing the jar more closely, came to the conclusion that it 
was a modern imitation. When the trader came, he was 
told that the Dj^ak had had a bad dream about the jar, 
and so was not prepared to buy it. In talking to an old 
Dyak about it, I was told that to say one had a bad dream 
was the usual way of refusing to buy a jar which seemed 
of doubtful value. 

An amusing incident happened at Sebetan in Krian 
when I was there. A Malay trader, whom we will call 
" A," came to a D3^ak house with a jar to sell. " A " was 
well known, as he lived in his coffee plantation on the 
bank of the Krian River. The Dyaks examined the jar 
and saw many defects in it, and said so. The next day 
another Malay trader, whom we will call " B," arrived 
with a jar to sell, but no one in the house seemed inclined 


to buy it. " A " and " B " seemed to be quite strangers 
to one another. " A " examined the jar " B " had 
brought, and then said : " My jar is not a good one ; I 
admit that. But this is a genuine old jar, and worth the 
eighty dollars he asks for it. I have not got much money 
with me ; but if anyone here will lend me the money, I am 
quite prepared to pay eighty dollars for it." As " A " 
was well known, the headman of the house lent him the 
sum of money he required to enable him to buy the jar. 
The money was paid to " B," who went off. Then " A " 
began to boast about his bargain ; he dwelt on all the 
good points of the jar, and told the Dyaks that they were 
very foolish to have let such a chance slip. He praised 
the jar so much that the headman of the house said he 
would buy it from him for the same price as he paid for 
it. " A " said he did not want to part with it, as it was 
a genume old jar, and honestly worth much more than he 
gave for it. After some discussion " A " agreed to sell it 
to the Dyak for one hundred dollars, and so he made a 
profit of twenty dollars in a very short time. 

It was found out afterwards that " B " was living with 
" A " during his stay in Krian ! The jar was considered 
by experts to be a modern imitation and comparatively 
worthless. When " A " was spoken to about the matter, 
he persisted in saying that in his opinion the jar was a 
genuine old one, but that he might be mistaken. 

With regard to land, it has been the immemorial custom 
of the Dyaks that when a person fells the virgin forest he 
acquires by that act a perpetual title to the land. He may 
sell it, lend it, let it, or leave it to his successor. The rent 
he is supposed to demand for a piece of land large enough 
to be farmed by one man is one dollar. If, however, he 
is not paid in money, he may claim a game-cock, or two 


plates. As a gamecock or two plates cost about a quarter 
of a dollar, it is dearer to pay for the vise of land with 
money. Land disputes are very common among Dyaks. 
As they often leave a particular district, and then return 
again after many years, it is not surprising that complica- 
tions arise. 

Fruit-trees are owaicd by the people who plant them. 
The different families m a Dj^ak house plant fruit-trees 
near their part of the house. When they leave the spot 
and build a new habitation elsewhere, they each still 
claim ownership of the trees they planted. The rule with 
regard to fruit-trees is that anyone may take the ripe 
fruit that has fallen, but only the owner or someone 
deputed by him may climb the tree. Banting Hill, where 
I lived for some years, was covered with fruit-trees (durian), 
and at night during the fruit season crowds of men and 
boys would watch for the falling of the ripe fruit. They 
would each have a torch made of the bark of some tree, 
and they would sit and wait with the torch smouldering 
by their side. As soon as a ripe durian fruit was heard to 
fall, they would wave their torches in the air to make 
them flare up into a flame, and they would rush to the spot, 
and the person who found the fruit would take possession 
of it. 

Slavery exists among the Dyaks, but not to any great 
extent. There are two classes of slaves — captives in war, 
and slaves for debt. 

The Sea Dyaks when on the warpath spare neither man, 
women, nor children, but it occasionall}^ happens that 
when they are able to do so, they carry little children back 
with them as captives. There are not many slaves to be 
met with among the Sea D^'aks, and these do not seem 
to be hardly treated. The slaves are not distinguishable 


from their masters and mistresses, and they live all 
together and fare precisely the same, very often eating the 
same food at the same time from the same dish. In many 
cases children who have been taken captive become so 
endeared to their masters that they are adopted, and inter- 
marry with the sons and daughters of the other inhabi- 
tants of the village. 

The ceremony of adoption is usually performed at a 
great feast, so that the matter may be made as public as 
possible. The owner of the slave announces to the 
assembled guests that he has freed him and adopted him 
as his brother. He then presents to him a spear, with 
which he is told to slay the man who dares in future to call 
him a slave. 

The old Dyak law concerning debts was that if a man 
borrowed paddy or rice from another, he must pay double 
that amount at the next harvest. If therefore a debtor 
bad a succession of bad harvests, his debt would become 
so great that he could not ever hope to pay it off. If he 
paid part of his debt, then the following year he would be 
expected to pay double the amount still due. In process 
of time his debt would become so great that he and his 
family would have to become slaves in payment of it. 

According to old Dyak laws people who were careless 
enough to set a house on fire rendered themselves liable 
to become the slaves of those who were burnt out. The 
damage done by their carelessness would be too great for 
them to compensate, so they would become slaves for debt. 

Sir James Brooke made a law that after a certain 
number of years all slaves for debt were to be set free, 
so at present there are not any, except those who have 
grown old in the service of their masters, and do not wish 
for their freedom. 


The Couvade amonn; the Dyaks — Harm to the child — Ways of 
evading these restrictions — Punishment for vnolating these 
restrictions — A Christian woman's ideas on the subject — 
Witch doctors and their methods — The waving of a fowl — Treat- 
ment of the mother and child — Infanticide — Bathing the child — 
Ceremony for insuring happiness to the child — Naming the child — 
Change of name — Children — Toys — Smallness of families — 

AS the Sea Dyaks look upon child-birth as a very 
ordinary event, there are not many ceremonies 
connected with it, though there are many rules 
and restrictions which have to be observed by the 
parents before the child is born. 

The Couvade is in existence among the Sea Dyaks, 
and there are many superstitions which impede and 
harass those who are about to become parents. 

When it is known that a woman is enceinte, the follow- 
ing restrictions, binding on both husband and wife, come 
into force, and have to be observed until the child has 
cut its first teeth. The parents may not cut creepers 
that hang over the water or over the path, lest the mother 
should suffer from haemorrhage after dehvery. They 
may not cut anything in the shape of cloth, cotton, etc., 
nor lay hold of the handle of a knife or chopper, nor bind 
up anything into a parcel ; nor may they dam a stream 
to set up a fish-trap, or plait the rattan for fixing the adze, 



They must under no circumstances tie up anything with 
a string, or drive a nail into a board. Neither parent 
may eat anything while in the act of walking. If the 
neighbour in the next room should hand anything through 
the small window in the partition wall, the hand that 
receives it must not be passed through the window, so 
as to be on the other side in the next room, but must be 
kept on its own side of the wall. The man may not nail 
up a wall or fasten together the planks of a boat. Nor 
must he plant a post in the earth, nor dig a trench. Plait- 
ing a basket or mat-work must not be done by the woman. 
It is unfortunate if the cord of the water-gourd, used by 
the women, break when carrying water, but in case of 
such an accident, evil consequences may be averted if 
the woman step astride over the gourd or other vessel 
three times backwards and forwards. To do any of these 
forbidden things would hinder the wife's parturition. 

There are many prohibitions which, if disregarded by 
the parents, would result in some harm to the child. They 
must not pour out oil, lest the child should suffer from 
inflammation of the ears ; or fix the sword (duku) in its 
hilt, lest the child be deaf ; or break an egg, lest the child 
be bhnd ; or plant a banana-tree, lest the head of the 
child should be abnormally large ; or kill any animal, 
lest the child be deformed or its nose bleed ; or scrape the 
shell of a cocoanut, lest the child's hair should not grow. 
It is also forbidden to eat anything in a mosquito curtain, 
lest the child should be stiU-born ; to carry stones, lest the 
child should be paralyzed ; to bend into a circle any piece 
of wood, lest the child should not prosper. 

There are a great many other matters of a similar 
sort forbidden, but in the case of nearly all their re- 
strictions, there are ways by which they can be circum • 



vented, and no evil effects follow. For instance, the 
mother may do basket-work and make mats, provided 
some other woman begin the work for her, and the man 
may dig trenches or erect a hut provided the hands 
of others are first laid to it. A man may not kill an 
animal yet, if he does kill anything, and runs away and 
then returns a few minutes afterwards, and makes some 
remark hke this aloud, "I wonder who killed this animal ?" 
he has nothing to fear. 

These carious restrictions are more or less similar 
among the different tribes. It is probable that they are 
founded on some theory of sympathy. Man, woman, 
and unborn or newborn babe are all hnked together by 
some unseen bond, and, accordingly, the wrong action of 
one may result in harm to the others. 

The whole period of a woman's pregnancy is passed in 
fear lest the spirits {antu) should do harm to her or her 
unborn babe. If the mother has a bad dream or hears 
a bird of ill omen, at once a fowl is sacrificed to propitiate 
the spirits. 

Should the husband wiHuUy violate any of the re- 
strictions, the wife's relations immediately bring him to 
justice, and, according to Dyak law, he has to pay a 

Some years ago Bishop Hose, accompanied by a 
missionary, visited Ginsurai, one of the villages in the 
Saribas. The Christians there had built for themselves 
a small chapel, where services were held. In the evening, 
when the Dyaks were sitting together in the ruai of the 
Dyak house talking to the Bishop and his companion, 
the question arose as to whether the attending of pubUc 
worship should be included among the many restrictions 
imposed upon a pregnant woman. The wife of the headman 


in the house was a great invalid, and she gave her opinion 
on the matter. " I think," she said, " a woman in that 
state should be allowed to come to public worship. It 
is just the time she needs it most. You men have so 
much to engage your attention, and go out to your work. 
I am an invahd, and am left at home ill. I often go by 
myself into our little chapel and say the Lord's Prayer, 
and I find it is a great consolation to me. A pregnant 
woman, who is perhaps feeling iU and low-spirited, ought 
to be allowed to join in pubhc prayers." Not so very 
long after she spoke in this way this woman, Manja's 
wife, died. Let us hope that there are many others in 
Borneo who, Hke herself, have learnt to rely on a Higher 
Power in time of need. 

When the time of dehvery is near, and the woman is 
in travail, two or three older women come in and attend 
to her. 

Should any difficulty occur in the delivery of the child 
the manangs, or witch-doctors, are called in. One takes 
charge of the proceedings in the lying-in room, while the 
others remain outside in the ruai, or common veranda. 
The manang inside the room winds a loop of cloth around 
the woman above the womb. One of the manangs outside 
wraps his body around in the same manner, but first 
places within the folds of a cloth a large stone. A long 
incantation is then sung by the manangs outside, while 
the one within the room strives to force the child down- 
ward, and so hasten delivery. If he succeed in doing 
this, he draws down upon it the loop of cloth, and twists 
it tightly around the mother's body, so as to prevent the 
upward return of the child. A shout from him proclaims 
his success to his companions outside, and the manang 
who is personating the mother moves the loop of cloth 


which contains the stone and encircles his body a stage 
downwards, in imitation of what has been done to the 
mother in the room. So the matter proceeds until the 
child is born, or until all concerned become assured of 
the fruitlessness of their efforts. 

Fortunately for Dyak mothers, difficulties of this sort 
seldom occur. Dehvery is generally very easy. The 
mother may often be seen sitting up with her back to 
the fire haK an hour after her child is born, looking none 
the worse for what she has gone through, and before a 
week she will probably be back at her work as usual. 

As soon as the child is born, a signal is given either 
by beating a bamboo with a stick or by striking a brass 
gong to announce the event. Then a fowl is waved 
over the heads of all present, including the infant and 
his mother. The fowl is killed and the blood smeared 
on the foreheads of those present. It is afterwards 
cooked and eaten by the parents of the child and any 
friends that may be present. 

The mother has a poultice of ground ginger placed on 
her abdomen, and is bandaged and made to sit up with 
her back to the fire, and she is given an unlimited amount 
of ginger-tea to drink. Her poultice is changed once a 
day. The infant is washed, and a compound of betel-nut 
and pepper leaf, which has been chewed in the mouth, 
is placed on its stomach, and a binder tied round it. It 
is then made to he on the spathe of a betel-nut palm, a 
cloth is put round it, and a Dyak sheet hung over it. 

Until a civiUzed Government interfered to prevent 
such atrocious murders, there used to be a custom among 
the Dyaks that, if the mother died in giving birth to her 
child, the babe should pay the penalty and be buried 
Avith the mother. The reasons given by them for this 


cruel act being, that it was the cause of the mother's 
death, and that there was no one to nurse and care for it. 
No woman would dare to suckle such an orphan, lest it 
should bring misfortune upon her own children. There- 
fore the poor child was very often placed alive in the coffin 
with the dead mother, and both were buried together. 
This was the old Dyak custom, but it is a long time since 
it has been carried out. I have myself known many cases 
among the Dyaks when, the mother having died in child- 
birth, the orphan has been adopted and brought up by 
some friend or relative. 

During the first three days the child receives its bath 
in a wooden vessel in the house, but on the fourth day it 
is taken to the river. Some ceremonies attend [its first 
bath in the river. An old man of some standing, who 
has been successful in all he has undertaken, is asked to 
bathe the child. He wades into the river holding the 
child in his arms. A fowl is killed on the bank, a wing 
is cut off, and if the child be a boy, this wing is stuck upon 
a spear, and if a girl, it is fixed to the shuttle used to pass 
between the threads in weaving, and this is erected on 
the bank, and the blood allowed to drop into the stream 
as an offering to propitiate the spirits supposed to inhabit 
the waters, and to insure that, at any rate, no accident 
by water shall happen to the child. The remainder of 
the fowl is taken back to the house, cooked and eaten. 

At some period after the child's birth — it may be 
within a few weeks, or it may be deferred for years — a 
ceremony is gone through in which the gods are invoked 
to grant the child health and wealth, and success in all 
his undertakings. The ceremony is generally postponed 
for some years if the parents are poor, in order to enable 
them to save a Httle to pay for the entertainment of their 


friends and relations on the occasion. Where the parents 
are better off, the ceremony is held a few weeks after the 
birth of the child. Several witch-doctors are asked to 
take part in this performance. A portion of the long 
open veranda of the Dyak house is screened off by large, 
hand-woven Dyak sheets (puah), and within these the 
mother sits with her child in her arms. The medicine 
men walk round and round, singing some incantation. 
Generally there is a leader, who sings by himself for a 
few minutes ; then he pauses, and turns round to his 
followers, and they all sing in chorus. Then the leader 
sings by himself again, and so on. They all walk round, 
first turning their feet to the right and stamping on the 
floor, then pausing a moment and turning their feet to 
the left, still stamping. This ceremony begins in the 
evening, and goes on for several hours. When it is over, 
food is brought out to the assembled guests, and all par- 
take of the provided feast. 

The proceedings differ very much according to the 
wealth and standing of the parents. Among the poor it 
is a very quiet affair — two or three witch-doctors attend, 
and only the near relatives of the child are present. 
On the other hand, among those who are rich, this cere- 
mony is made the occasion of holding a great feast, and 
inviting people from all parts to attend. Pigs and fowls 
are killed for food. Jars of tuak (a spirit obtained from 
rice) are brought forth for the guests to drink, and all are 
invited to rejoice with the parents. 

The naming of the child is not made the occasion for 
any ceremonies, and it is not unusual to meet children of 
seven or eight years old who have not yet received a 
name. They are known by some pet name, or are called 
endun (little girl), or igat, or anggat (little boy). 

A Dyak Girl Dressed in all her Finery to Attend a Feast 

She has in her hair a comb decorated with silver filigree work. Round her neck is a necklace of 
beads. The rings round her body are made of hoops of cane, round which little brass rings are 
arranged close together so that none of the cane is visible. These hoops are worn next to the body 
above the waist, and over the petticoat below. The silver coins fastened to this brass corset, and 
worn as belts round it, are the silver coins of the country. The petticoat is a broad strip of clolh, 
sewn together at the ends and having an opening at the top and bottom. It is fastened at the 
waist with a piece of string. 


Even when a name is given to a child, it is often changed 
for some reason or other. The Dyaks have a great ob- 
jection to uttering the name of a dead person, so if the 
namesake of a child dies, at once a new name is chosen. 
Again, if a child is liable to frequent attacks of illness, 
it is no uncommon thing for parents to change the name 
two or three times in the course of a year. The reason 
for this is that all sickness and death is supposed to be 
caused by evil spirits, who are put off the scent by this 
means. When they come to take the child's soul away, 
they do not hear his old name uttered any more, and so 
they conclude he no longer exists, and return without him ! 

The Dyaks are very fond of children, and treat them 
very kindly. They rarely, if ever, punish them. The 
children have a great deal of hberty, but are not often 
unruly, disobedient, or disrespectful. They are, as a rule, 
very fond of their parents, and when they grow older, do 
as they are told from a desire to please them. 

The girls Uke to help their mothers in the work of the 
house, and become useful at an early age. The boys 
also begin to work early, and are often seen accompanying 
their fathers when they work on their farms. A boy is 
very proud when he has succeeded in making his first 
dug-out canoe, which he sometimes does at fifteen. He 
can at this age join a party working in the jungle and 
collecting gutta-percha, canes, and other jungle produce, 
and he receives an equal share with the adult members 
of the party. The boys generally bring back what money 
they earn in this way, and give it to their parents. 

Dyak children have not many toys. Little girls are 
sometimes seen with rudely carved wooden doUs, and 
little boys play with models of boats. The boys are fond 
of spinning-tops, which they make for themselves. 


Though the Dyaks marry young, they do not have 
large famihes. It is not often that one meets a family 
of over three or four children, and I have only known 
of one case where a woman had seven children. The 
conditions are favourable, one would think, to a rapid 
increase of population. They have plenty of good plain 
food, and the chmate is healthy. There are none of 
the principal checks to population mentioned by Malthus 
among savage nations — starvation, disease, war, infanti- 
cide, or immorality. What, then, is the cause of the 
small number of births ? Climate and race may have 
something to do with it, but I think the main cause of 
it is the infertility of the women. This is no doubt brought 
about by the hard work they do, and the heavy loads they 
often carry. A Dyak woman sometimes spends the whole 
day in the field, and carries home at night a heavy load, 
often walking for several miles over hilly paths. In 
addition to this, she has to pound the rice, a work which 
strains every muscle of the body. I have often been told 
by Dyak women that the hardest work they have to do 
is this rice-pounding. This kind of hard labour begins 
at an early age, and never ceases until the woman is too 
old or too weak to work. Need we wonder, then, at the 
limited number of her children ? 


Up-country mission schools — Education — The Saribas Dyaks eager to 
learn — School programme — What the boys were taught — Some 
schoolboy reminiscences — A youthful Dyak manang — The story 
of Buda — The opening of the Krian Mission and the Saribas 

IN this chapter I want to say something about the 
little school of Dyak boys I had in the up-country 
mission station in my charge. My school was a very 
small one. The largest number of boarders I ever had 
was sixteen. It would seem hardly necessary to devote 
a whole chapter to it, but the up-country school is an 
important factor for good, and deserves encouragement. 
I should like to see more of these schools in different 
parts of the country. I feel sure that it does a Dyak boy 
a great deal of good to be a few years in one of these small 
schools under the personal supervision of the missionary 
in charge. Here he would do much manual work, just as 
he would do in his own home, and he would at the same 
time be taught moral truths as well as general knowledge. 
When he returns to his Dyak home, he is sure to influence 
his people for good. The object of education is to build 
up character. The way to improve the Dyaks is not to 
educate a certain number of them to earn their living 
elsewhere, but to take some young people from the Dyak 
village, improve them by implantmg in their minds right 



ideas, and then send them back to live with their own 
people the ordinary work-a-day life of the Dyak. I 
agree with those who say that to place Dyak boys in one 
of the larger schools in Kuching for any length of time 
will make a return to their old surroundings distasteful 
to them, and unfit them for the ordinary life and occupa- 
tions of their people. And therefore I thmk that only 
those who show a special aptitude to become teachers 
should be sent on to the school at the capital to be taught 
to read and write English. A certain number of clerks 
are needed, but that number is very limited, and to pro- 
duce a large number of Dyak clerks for whom there is not 
sufficient work is surely a mistake. There are some who 
advocate technical education for the Dyak. No doubt 
he would with training make an excellent carpenter or 
smith, but again he would find difficulty in getting work. 
He would never be able to compete with the Chmese 
artisan into whose hands all the skilled labour has 

The main object of my school m the jungle was to 
teach Dyak boys for a few years, and then send them 
back to their own people. Unfortunately, I had not the 
means to carry this out to any great extent. 

A few of my schoolboys, after being with me for some 
time, were sent on to the larger school at Kuching to be 
taught English. These were the boys who one hoped 
would in after years become teachers and catechists. 
There is so Uttle Dyak literature that it is necessary that 
a person learn English so as to be able to educate himself 
by reading English books. But the majority of my boys 
stayed with me for two, three, or four years, and then 
returned to their Dyak homes. In my school there was 
manual work as well as lessons to do. They lived plainly, 


cooking their own food and doing most of their own work. 
They were cut away from all the superstitious customs of 
their people, and received a certain amount of moral and 
religious training. After three or four years of such school 
life they were ready to return to their old surroundings, 
taking with them the lessons they had learnt. 

For the present, at any rate, there is no need for the 
Dyak to take up new industries. What he wants is to be 
taught to do the work he has to do more thoroughly, and 
to be released from the bondage of superstition and the 
constant fear of evil spirits in which he lives. The problem 
of his future will work itself out by a natural process. 
When the present sources of supply fail him, necessity 
will force him to take up new industries. 

My schoolboys came from different Dyak villages, but 
the majority of them were boys from Saribas. The Dyaks 
of that district are more anxious to improve themselves 
than other Dyak races. The following incident will show 
how keen they are to learn to read. A party of Saribas 
Dyaks going on a gutta-hunting expedition asked for a 
copy of the first Dyak reading-book, because one of them 
could read, and thought he would teach the others in the 
evenings when they were not at work. And this is 
indeed what did happen, and when the party returned 
most of them were able to read. The Saribas women are 
just as keen as the men, and many of them have been 
taught to read by some Dyak friend. I have myself 
noticed, when holding services for the Christians in some 
villages in Saribas, how many of those present were able 
to use the Dyak Prayer-Book and follow the service and 
read the responses. 

A Dyak schoolmaster, who had taught in Banting for 
many years, afterwards worked as the Government clerk 


at Betong in Saribas. He told me that he was struck 
by the number of Dyak men and women m Saribas 
who could write, and how they often wrote letters to 
their friends who were away, and received letters from 

The school programme for the day was as follows : 

5.45 a.m. — The two boys whose turn it was to cook, and 
the two boys whose turn it was to sweep out the school- 
room and the lower room of the Mission House, would get 
up and begin their duties. 

6.30 a.m. — A gong would be struck telling the boys 
to come to breakfast. They would all go to the kitchen 
and have their meal, consisting of rice with a little salt 
fish or vegetables. 

7 a.m. — The boys would be told what manual work 
they had to do : either they would weed the paths, or cut 
the grass, or work at their different vegetable gardens. 
Sometimes the}" would go out into the jungle to get fire- 
wood. At Temudok, where the soil was good, the school- 
boys had excellent vegetable gardens. 

8.30 a.m. — A gong would be struck to let them know 
they were to stop working and have a bath, after which, 
at 8.45 a.m., there would be a short service. 

9-11 a.m. — Morning school. 

12 noon. — Midday meal. 

2-4 p.m. — Afternoon school. 

5 ji.m. — Evensong, to which some of the Dyaks from the 
village would come. 

6 p.m. — Evening meal. 

7-8 p.m. — Preparation for next day's lessons. 

9 p.m,. — Two or three short praj^ers and one verse of a 
children's evening hymn, after which the boys would go 
to bed. 


On Saturdays there was no school. The boys did their 
washing on that day, and often went into the jungle for 
firewood, but they had most of the day for play. 

The children were taught to read and write Dyak, and a 
little arithmetic. They were also taught the elements of 
the Christian religion. They were always encouraged to 
ask the schoolmaster or myself any questions they liked. 
I have learned from conversations I had with my boys 
what were the special points in Christianity that needed 
explanation to Dyaks. Living with me as thej'^ did, I got 
to know my boys very well, and through them I learnt 
to know their parents and friends. They did not have 
many lessons to learn ; there was plenty of time for play 
and work. It was not so much what they learnt from 
books that did the boys good, as their being separated for 
a time from the customs and superstitions of the Dyaks. 
We have had many instances of families becoming 
Christian through some children of theirs coming to 

Most of the boys in the school were Christians, but all, 
whether Christians or not, attended the services and were 
taught about God. Some of the bigger heathen boys, 
after being in the school some time, have asked to be 

The following schoolboy reminiscences may be of in- 
terest to my readers : — • 

When I was visiting the different villages in the 
Saribas River and teaching the people in the evening in 
the public hall of the Dyak house, very often some boys 
would say they would like to jom my school. Then I 
would speak to their parents, and if they agreed to it these 
boys would go back with me on my return to the Mission 
House and attend my school. 


I must relate an incident which occurred when I was 
stationed at Temudok on the Krian River. I paid my 
usual quarterly visit to Saribas, and when I was at 
Stambak a boy named Usat, about twelve years old, said 
he would like to attend my school. In the evening, when 
we were seated on mats in the public part of the house, 
the headman, who was a great warrior, and had a very 
gruff manner, said to me : — 

" I hear you are thinking of taking Usat to your school. 
His brother is here, but he is a fool and cannot speak, so I 
will speak for him. I should not advise you to take Usat. 
He is a bad boy, and never obeys his elders. Why, one 
day he took a knife and wanted to attack me ! Of course, 
if you wish to take a boy of that kind with you, you can, 
but I have warned you." 

Usat was himself present and heard all this, but said 
nothing. I said to him : "If you come with me to 
school you must do what you are told ; I don't want dis- 
obedient boys." He made no reply. 

Later on in the evening, when I was returning to my 
boat, I heard a pattering of feet behind me on the log 
which formed the path. Turning round, I saw it was 
Usat, who had followed me, and wanted to say something 
to me. 

" If you take me with you," he said, " I will do as I am 

I liked his looks, as he seemed bright and intelligent, 
so I told him I would call for him in about ten days' 
time, when I had visited the other Saribas villages, and 
was on my way back to Temudok, and if his parents 
consented to his going to school, he could accompany 

He was waiting for me on my return from up-river, and 


I took him in my boat to Temudok, where he soon made 
friends with the other boys. He was full of fun and 
mischief, but very frank and open, and we all liked him 
very much. 

After he had been with me about three weeks, four 
Dyaks came overland from Stambak. They said they 
had been sent by Usat's parents and friends, who felt 
certain that the boy must have given a great deal of 
trouble, and that I was anxious to get rid of him, and so 
they had come to fetch him home. I told them the boy 
was happy enough, and that I did not want to send him 
back, so they returned without him. I do not know 
what they said about the boy, but, anyhow, he was 
allowed to stay at my school for over two years, when 
his parents wished him to return to help them in their 

A little boy from Seblak, a branch of the Krian River, 
came to me at Temudok, and asked to be admitted into 
my school. There were no Christians in the village where he 
lived, but his brother, who was in the Government employ 
at Kabong as a fortman, had heard of my school. Belawan 
was not a particularly sharp boy, but he was very strong 
for his age and a very good wrestler. Nothing gave him 
greater pleasure than to wrestle and beat a boy older 
than himself. He stayed at my school a little over two 
years. I have never done any missionary work on the 
Seblak River, but I am glad Belawan came to my school, 
because I learnt from him what absurd ideas the people 
at Seblak had of the missionary and the Mission House. 
One thing he said was that there was a general idea 
among some of the people that I had a roomful of antu 
(evil spirits) in the Mission House, and he said that was 
one reason why for a long time he hesitated about joining 


the school at Temudok ! Seblak is rather out of the 
usual beat, and the Dyaks there do not come into contact 
with missionaries, and I was not at all surprised that the 
people of that district should have absurd ideas. I hope 
later on, when missionary work is begun in Seblak, the 
fact that Belawan stayed for two years in my house will 
have helped to pave the way for a kind reception of the 

I was once returning to Temudok from a visit to the 
Saribas River, and as usual had in my boat a few Dyak 
schoolboys who had been on a visit to their friends at 
Saribas. We had had a tiring day, and my boat got to 
Kabong — the mouth of the Krian River — at about 7 p.m. 
The boatmen had not had their evening meal, and every- 
body was tired and hungry. I was going to spend the 
night at the Fort, so the men and boys carried from the 
boat such things as I might require. When everything 
I needed had been brought to the Fort, one of the school- 
boys, Saran, said to me : — 

" There is a Malay boy on the beach who says he would 
like to fight me. If you give me leave, I should be glad 
to fight him." 

" What do you want to fight for at this hour ?" I said. 
" You are all tired and hungry. The best thing for you to 
do is to have your dinner." 

" The Malay boy was very cheek}^" Saran went on to 
say ; " he shook his fist at me, and said I was afraid of him. 
I should like to give him a thrashing." 

"Very well," I said; "go and fight him if you like, 
but don't come back whining to me and say you are 

About half an hour afterwards Saran returned very 
pleased with himself. It seems that when the Malay boy 


saw Saran meant business, he took to his heels, and my 
schoolboy had the pleasure of chasing him to the 
Malay village. Though he did not have his fight, he 
had the pleasure of feeling he had defeated the enemy. 
I mention this little incident to show how very much 
like other boys the Dyaks are, and how my schoolboy 
was ready for a fight even though he was tired and 

When stationed at Temudok, I used to visit the Chris- 
tians on the Budu River — a branch of the Krian River — 
and I had there a httle native-built hut, where I used to 
live for a week or so. The boys and girls there were very 
anxious to learn, so I got some slates for them. In the 
evenings there used to be about a dozen boys and girls in 
my room learning to read and write. It was amusing to 
see what they did when they wanted a slate pencil. They 
would go to the shingly bed of the river a few yards away, 
and pick up a long thin bit of slate, and rub it against 
some other stone till it was the right shape to be used a 
a pencil. 

One day I went with my Catechist, Tujoh, and two 
schoolboys, who had accompanied me from my Mission 
School at Temudok, overland to a long Dyak house 
higher up the Budu River. A boy about fourteen years 
old was pointed out to me there, and I was told that he 
was a manang, or witch-doctor. I had never seen any- 
body as young as that acting as a manang, and knowing 
what a great deal of deceit is practised by the Dyak 
witch-doctor, there was to me something very sad in the 
thought of this young boy doing such work. I was also 
curious to know what led him to become a manang, so 
I spoke to him, and told him that if he cared to pay a 
visit to Temudok, or to come to school there, he would be 


welcome. After some little discussion, his parents 
allowed him to come with me on a visit, and later on the 
boy, whose name was Ambu, was allowed to attend my 
school. I found out from him that he understood very 
little of the doings of the witch-doctors. There were very 
few manangs near his village, and there was a difficulty 
in getting more than two or three to take part in their 
ceremonies over the sick, so Ambu was persuaded to join 
them and walk round when incantations were made. 
While the other Dyak doctors were well paid, Ambu 
received some trifle for his part in the proceedings. Ambu 
stayed with me nearly a year, and then returned to his 
people. I had a long talk with liim before he went back 
about the work of the matiaiigs. I said that my advice 
to him was not to have anything to do with their cere- 
monies for the next few years. If, when he was old 
enough to judge for himself, he still wished to be a 
manang, he could do so, but in the meantime he had better 
follow the advice of one who was older than himself, and 
knew something of the deceit of the manangs. I lost 
sight of Ambu soon after his return to his people, because 
the house was broken up, and the inmates moved to some 
distant part. 

I conclude this rambling chapter with the romantic 
but true story of how one of the most influential native 
Catechists became a Christian through seeing the mis- 
sionary teaching some boys in an up-country IVIission 

Buda was the youngest of the warrior sons of the old 
Orang Kaya Pemancha, the famous pirate and war- 
leader of the Saribas Dj'^aks in the old lawless days. 
One of his brothers, Haji, was killed fighting against the 
Government forces sent to punish the rebels and restore 


order in the Saribas. Loiyo and Nanang, two other 
brothers, were at one time followers of Rentap, who held 
out so long against the Sarawak Government, and made 
Sadok Mountain, between the Saribas and the Skrang 
Rivers, his headquarters. The Dyaks often relate with 
keen interest the story of those ancient days when 
Rentap's stronghold, high up on Sadok Mountain, with 
precipitous approaches on every side, was considered 
impregnable. Many an expedition did the Government 
lead against Rentap, but to no purpose. Rentap, who 
was called by his followers the " Inland Rajah," and was 
the leader of the opposition to the rule of the Rajah of 
Sarawak, was supported by a large force of disaffected 
Saribas and Skrang Dyaks, and was not to be easily 

In 1861, however, Rentap was losing his popularity, 
and a great many of his followers had deserted him. They 
could not endure the violence and wiKulness of their 
leader, and they saw that the Dyaks who had submitted 
to Rajah Brooke's Government were happy and flourish- 
ing. Moreover, Rentap had offended their Dyak pre- 
judices. He had discarded his old wife, and married one 
of the girls he had taken captive, and called her " the 
Ranee of Sadok." This was contrary to aU Dyak custom, 
and was greatly resented by his followers. In that year 
Loiyo and Nanang, two of Rentap's leading warriors, 
and their adherents, made their submission to Rajah 
Brooke. They had to give security to the amount of 
forty valuable jars (worth about £500), which were to be 
retained for three years, and then returned to their owners 
should they remain loyal. 

The next expedition led by the Government succeeded 
in defeating Rentap. When he found that his stronghold 


was no longer tenable, he fled with such of his followers 
as were able, down the opposite side of the mountain. 
Deserted by most of his followers, he retired to the 
Entabai branch of the Kanowit River, and died there some 
years after. 

Buda and his brother Unting, the two other sons of 
the Orang Kaya Pemancha, did their share of fighting 
during these troubled times, and took part in many a 
bold deed, to the annoyance of the Government. Unting 
married and settled at Saribas, and I knew him well. 
Buda married into a family at Sebetan, and made his 
home there. 

I have told the history of Buda and his brothers in 
order to give some idea of the kind of reputation his 
family had among the Dyaks. At the time of Buda's 
visit to Banting, the Rev. W. R. Mesney (afterwards 
Archdeacon of Sarawak) was living at Banting with the 
Rev. Walter Chambers, who became afterwards Bishop of 
Labuan and Sarawak. Let me give the account of what 
happened in i\Ir. Mesney's own words : — 

" Buda had started from his home to visit different 
places — helelang, as the Dyaks call it. He had with him 
a couple of favourite fighting-cocks, and these he matched 
against the cocks of the houses he came to in his wander- 
ings. In this way he came down the Batang Lupar, and 
reached Banting, where he knew that a distant connection 
of his family hved, and for that house he shaped his 
course. He made himself known to these friends, who 
welcomed him, and were proud of a visit from the son of 
the Orang Kaya Pemancha. He put his fighting-cocks 
into one of the kurongs (baskets) under the lantai (flooring) 
of the house, and made his pets safe, and then, as it was 
just the time for the women to begin their rice-pounding, 


he dressed himself up, and marched off, and found his 
way up the hill to the Mission House. 

" I was just then there alone. Mr. Chambers was gone 
to visit some of the out-stations on the Batang Lupar. 
I was teaching half a dozen small fry at the table, which 
stood in what corresponded to the veranda in the old 
Mission House at Banting. I was not paying any atten- 
tion to the door, nor troubling about who came in, as at 
that time of the day many young fellows, who were on 
the hill for any purpose, were in the habit of coming in 
and watching the boys learning. I was busy with a couple 
of the youngsters, when I noticed the others all press up 
close together, and begin whispering and signalling as 
Dyaks can, and showing unmistakable signs of uneasi- 
ness. When I saw this, I looked up to see the cause of 
it, and there, standing by one of the posts of the house, 
was a strange man, very unlike a Balau in dress and 
appearance, with his hand on the handle of his Hang 
(sword) ; in fact, behaving in quite a different way to the 
ordinary Dyak visitor. The boys did not like his manner 
at all, I could see, and I heard them whisper " munsoh " 
(enemy) to each other. 

" I asked the man to sit down, but this he decHned to 
do, for he continued standing there with his eyes fixed on 
us and his hand on the handle of his sword, from the 
sheath of which a large bunch of charms was suspended. 
I kept my eye on the man, and at the same time went on 
teaching. He continued to watch us for some minutes, 
and the boys got more and more uncomfortable. When 
at last the man actually came up to the table and picked 
up a piece of paper, I thought the boys would have all 
bolted. However, after looking at the paper for a few 
minutes, he made some remark, and I again asked him 


to sit down. This time he did what I asked him to do, 
and sat down on the floor just where he had been standing. 
I asked him the usual questions, " Ari ni nuan?'' (" From 
where have you come ?") and so on. He soon made some 
remark about the paper he had picked up, and we talked 
to each other. In the midst of our conversation, he 
suddenly got up and went to the door, where he proceeded 
to take off his sword and the great bunch of charms that 
he was wearing at his waist, and placed them very care- 
fully down on the floor just outside the door, as he could 
not find anything to hang them up to. He came back, 
and this time took his seat on the form at the table. I 
went on for a short time longer teaching the boys, and 
then began talking to my visitor. He was very much 
interested, and said that he should hke to hear more ; 
might he come again when the boys were being taught ? 
After he had gone, I heard who he was, and what he had 
come to Banting for. 

" The next day he made his appearance again, and sat 
and hstened while the boys had their lesson. The reading 
was the attraction to him, and he said that he would Kke 
to be able to read ; might he stay at Banting, and come up 
to the Mission House for lessons ? And so it came about 
that when Mr. Chambers returned, he walked into the 
Mission House, and found me with the redoubtable Buda, 
seated and quietly learning his ABC! Mr. Chambers, 
of course, knew the man well by reputation, and he took 
me aside, and asked me if I knew his character, and 
what he had done in the past. I could only say that I 
had gathered from the behaviour of other people that he was 
well-known, but that I had had no cause to complain of his 
behaviour during the few days he had been at Banting 
and coming to the Mission House. When Mr. Chambers 


found the man was amenable, he was glad to have him 
at Banting, and Buda devoted himself to learning, and 
was quite a pattern scholar." 

From this account it will be seen that Buda was first 
induced to take lessons by seeing Dyak boys being taught 
at an up-country Mission School. After a short stay 
in Banting he went back to his home, but returned to 
Banting again for more instruction. He was baptized, and 
afterwards worked as Catechist. He accompanied Mr. 
Chambers to his home in Sebetan, where he had already 
taught many of the Dyaks, and thus the Krian and Sebetan 
Mission was started. For many years Buda worked as 
Catechist at Sebetan under Mr. Perham, afterwards 
Archdeacon of Singapore. 

When returning from one of his visits to Sebetan, 
Mr. Chambers persuaded Buda to come back to Banting 
and bring his wife and child with him, so that she might 
get more instruction. While at Banting on that occasion, 
Buda proposed to Mr. Mesney that he should go with 
him to the Saribas, and see whether they could not 
influence some of his relatives there in the Gospel message. 
Mr. Chambers hesitated for some time, because the 
Balaus of Banting distrusted the Saribas Dyaks, who 
used to be their enemies. But at last he said that, if 
Mr. Mesney was bold enough to visit the Saribas Dyaks, 
and could get men to accompany him, he might do so. 
There was some difficulty in getting the men, but this was 
overcome, and Mr. Mesney, accompanied by Buda and 
some Banting Dyaks, paid a visit to Saribas. That was 
the beginning of the Saribas Mission, which at the present 
time is the most successful and encouraging of all the 
missions in Sarawak. 


Courtship — Discussion where the married couple are to live — The 
fetching of the bride — The wedding ceremony — Mlah Pinang — 
Visit of bride to her mother-in-law — Bride's dress — Bridegroom 
—Old bachelors among the Dyaks— Age of marriage— Monogamy 
— Prohibitive degrees — Dyak view of marriage — Conjugal affec- 
tion — Mischief -making mothers-in-law — Separation and recon- 
ciliation — Divorce — Adultery. 

THE mode of courtship among the Dyaks is peculiar. 
No courting goes on by day, but at night, when all 
is quiet, a young lover creeps to the side of the 
curtain of his lady-love, and awakes her. The girls sleep 
apart from their parents — sometimes in the same room, 
but more often in the loft. He presents her with a roll 
of sireh leaf, in which is wrapped the betel-nut ingre- 
dients the Dyaks love to chew. 

If, when awakened, the girl accepts the betel-nut roll 
which the young man presents her, and puts it in her 
mouth, it is a sign that his visit is acceptable, and that 
he may stay and speak to her. If, on the other hand, 
she says, " Please blow up the fire," or " Be good enough to 
light the lamp " (which is usually a bamboo fiUed with 
resin), it shows that she will have nothing to say to 
him, and he recognizes the usual form of dismissal and 
goes away. 

If the lover's visit be acceptable to her, they chew 



sireh and betel-nut, a plentiful supply of which the man 
brings with him, and make arrangements about the 

This nocturnal visiting goes on for some v/eeks. If the 
parents of the girl think the match a suitable one, the 
young people are permitted to see each other very often. 
On the other hand, if the young man does not find favour 
with them, they soon let him know that his visits are not 
desired. They do not allow their daughter to see him 
alone, and the matter goes no farther. 

This nightly courtship is, in fact, the only way a man 
and woman can become acquainted with each other, for 
such a thing as privacy during the day is quite unknown 
in a Dyak house. If the girl be pleased with her lover, 
he remains with her until close upon daybreak, when he 
leaves with her some article as a pledge of his honour, 
such as a bead necklace, or ring, or a headkerchief, or 
anything else which he may have about him. This act 
of leaving some gift with the girl is considered as a 
betrothal between the two parties, and the man who 
refuses to marry the girl after doing so is considered 
guilty of breach of promise of marriage, and Uable, accord- 
ing to Dyak law, to a fine. 

I have often spoken to older Dyaks about the matter, 
and have been told by them that these nocturnal visits 
very seldom result in immorahty. The girl who is not 
careful how she behaves very soon gets a bad name among 
the young men, and all her chances of securing a husband 
are lost. And it is a fact that, considering the population, 
there are not many illegitimate children among the 

When the young couple have decided the question of 
the future to their mutual satisfaction, the next step in 


the proceedings is for the man to make known his wishes 
to his own parents, and then a visit is paid by the man's 
relatives and friends to the girl's parents to request 
formally the hand of their daughter in marriage. This 
consent is seldom refused, because as a rule the parents 
of the girl approve of her choice, or they would not have 
allowed her to receive visits from the man. 

There is a great deal of discussion, sometimes lasting 
for days, as to where the married couple are to Uve after 
the wedding ceremony. The wife does not always leave 
her home to go and live with her husband. As often as 
not the man takes up his abode in the house of his wife's 
relations. Many matters are taken into consideration in 
deciding where they are to live. If the daughter be an 
only child, her parents generally make it a condition of 
marriage, that the son-in-law should come and live with 
them, and work for them, but where the girl has many 
brothers and sisters, and the man has not, she is allowed 
to go and live in his house. Then, again, the question of 
social standing comes in, and if a girl marries beneath 
her she refuses to go to the house of her husband, and 
expects him to come to her. 

When everything has been satisfactorily arranged, and 
the consent of the girl's parents has been obtained, a day 
is fixed for the marriage ceremony. 

The day before the wedding is spent by the bridegroom 
in obtaining a plentiful supply of betel-nut, sireJi leaf 
(a species of pepper) lime, gambler, etc. — all necessary 
concomitants for the guests to chew during the pro- 
ceedings connected with the marriage ceremony. 

The wedding may take place either at the house of the 
bride, or else at that of the bridegroom. Generally it is 
held in the house in which the newly married couple do 


not intend to reside ; that is, if it be decided that tne 
newly married wife should settle in her husband's house, 
then the wedding will take place at her home. If, on the 
other hand, the relatives decide that the husband is to 
live in the home of his wife, then the wedding takes place 
at the house of his parents. 

The principal part of the ceremony among the Sea 
Dyaks is the fetching of the bride from her father's to 
the bridegroom's house. The women-folk of his village 
set out in a boat, gaily decorated with an awning of parti- 
coloured sheets, and with streamers and flags flying, to 
an accompaniment of gongs and drums, and musical 
instruments, to fetch the bride to her future husband's 

When the other party arrive at the landing-stage of 
the house at which the wedding is to take place, they 
walk up to the house — a gaily-dressed crowd — and sit 
down in the open veranda, to talk over the future prospects 
of the young couple, chewing betel-nut and sir eh all the 
time. A portion of these chewing ingredients are care- 
fully set aside to be used later on. The Byak, with his 
great love for divination, cannot allow such an occasion 
to pass without making some attempt to penetrate into 
the secrets of the future. 

The company sit down in the long common room of 
the Dyak house, and then are brought forward the betel- 
nut, sir eh, etc., specially set aside for the ceremony. A 
betel-nut is split into seven pieces by a man supposed to 
be lucky in matrimonial matters, and these, together with 
the other ingredients of the betel-nut mixture, are all 
put in a little basket, which is bound together with red 
cloth and laid for a short time upon the open platform 
adjoining the house. 


The master of the ceremonies, who splits the betel-nut, 
generally an older man of some standing, then makes to 
the assembled guests the declaration that if either party 
should desert the other without sufficient reason, the 
offending party shall be fined to such an amount as has 
been already agreed upon. 

The basket containing the split pieces of betel-nut is 
then brought in and uncovered, and the contents exam- 
ined to ascertain the will of the gods. Should the pieces 
of betel-nut by some mystic power increase in number, 
the marriage will be an unusually happy one ; but should 
they decrease it is a bad omen, and the marriage must 
be postponed, or relinquished altogether. But as a 
matter of fact, they neither increase nor decrease, and 
this is interpreted to mean that the wedding is one upon 
which the spirits have pronounced neither a good nor a 
bad verdict. 

This action gives the name to the marriage ceremony. 
The Dyaks call marriage Mlah Pinang — " splitting the 

The contents of the little basket used to discover the 
will of the higher powers are chewed just as other pinang 
and sir eh, and the marriage ceremony is over ; the young 
couple are lawfully man and wife. 

The married couple stay for three days in the house 
which is to be their future home. On the fourth day a 
visit is paid, lasting for three days, to the family with 
whom the alliance has been made. Then the young 
couple return to settle down in their new home. 

On the occasion of the first visit of the bride to the 
house of her husband, she must not enter her mother-in- 
law's room, but must be led in either by that much 
dreaded relative herself, or by some woman deputed by 


her to perform that office. The bride, therefore, goes into 
the room of some female friend living in the house, and 
there awaits the coming of her mother-in-law ; the husband 
meanwhile sits down on a mat in the open veranda 
outside his mother's room. 

The lady, having ascertained the whereabouts of her 
daughter-m-law, goes and fetches her, and brings her 
into the room. She bids her sit down on a mat spread 
for the purpose. Then she goes out to her son in the 
veranda, and leads him in, and tells him to sit by his 
wife's side. When they are seated side by side, the 
mother waves a live fowl over her son and daughter-in- 
law with a hastily muttered invocation for future health 
and prosperity. 

The respect that Dyaks are required to pay to the 
father-in-law and mother-in-law is far greater than they 
have to pay to their own parents. 

It is considered a terrible crime for a man to mention 
the names of his wife's parents, and he dare not disobey 
their commands. A young man marrying an only child 
and living with her parents has generally a hard time of 
it, because he has to give way in everything to the wishes 
of his wife's parents. In the same way a girl who marries 
an only son, and lives with his parents, has often an 
unhappy time, being continually ordered about and 
scolded by her mother-m-law. I have known cases where 
husband and wife have separated simply because the 
mother-in-law has made the life of the wife unbear- 

For the wedding, and for the subsequent visit which 
the bride pays to her husband's home, she decks herself 
out in all the finery she possesses or can borrow from her 
friends. Her wedding-dress consists of a short petticoat 


of Dyak woven cloth which reaches to her knees. Along 
the bottom edge of this there are sewed several rows of 
tinsel and of silver coins, below which probably hang some 
rows of hawk-bells, which make a tinkling sound as she 
moves. Round her waist are several coils of brass or 
silver chain, and two or three belts made of dollars or 
other silver coins linked together. 

From her hips upwards, as far as her armpits, she wears 
a corset formed by threading upon split cane a great 
number of small brass rings, arranged so closely together 
as completely to hide the cane. To this corset may be 
fixed two or three bands of silver coins. Her armlets of 
brass or silver extend as far up as her elbow. As many 
rings as she possesses are on her fingers, and she wears 
necklaces of small beads, worked in very beautiful 
patterns, and finished off with a tassel of beads, or else a 
large number of big silver or brass buttons strung to- 
gether round her neck. Her ears are decorated with 
filigreed studs of silver gilt, with a setting of scarlet cloth 
behind the filigree work to show them off. 

In her hair is a towering comb of sUver filigree work, 
to which are attached a number of silver spangles, which 
glitter with every movement of her head. She wears her 
hair m a knot into which are stuck a number of large brass 
hair-pins decorated with beads and little tags of red and 
yellow and white cloth. She possesses a bright-coloured 
jacket of Dyak woven cloth ; but she does not wear it ; 
it is slung over her right shoulder. 

After this detailed description of the bride's dress, it is 
disappointmg to learn that the bridegroom takes no 
special pains to ornament his person. The men wear a 
great deal of finery when they attend a feast, or when 
they go out on the warpath, but on the occasion of his 


wedding the bridegroom takes no extra trouble about his 

I have been present at a Dyak wedding more than once, 
and what struck me most was the perfunctory manner in 
which everything was done. No one seemed to listen 
much to what the Master of Ceremonies had to say ; all 
sat round talking and laughing as the mood suited them. 
The examining of the basket containing the pieces of split 
betel-nut was not awaited with any anxiety. Everything 
seemed to be done because it was the custom , and for no 
other reason. 

Nearly every Sea Dyak is married, and it is very 
unusual to meet a bachelor above the age of twenty-five. 
The exception to this is among the Skrang Dyaks, among 
whom one often sees an unmarried man over forty years 
of age. The expression Bujang Skrang — " a Skrang 
bachelor " — means an old bachelor. 

A man rarely marries a woman who has an illegitimate 
child. But children are very much desired, and the 
Dyaks have a great horror of being childless. Intercourse 
often takes place between those who have been betrothed, 
but not formally married, simply to ascertain if the 
marriage will be fruitful. At the first signs of the desired 
result the marriage ceremony takes place. 

Both sexes marry at an early age. The young men 
marry when about eighteen to twenty years of age, and 
the girls at sixteen or seventeen, though sometimes 
marriage is postponed till later. They frequently separate 
by mutual consent, and nothing is thought of it if the 
couple be chUdless ; but it is very seldom that anything of 
the kind occurs if there are children. 

Among the Dyaks no man has more than one wife. 
Polygamy is considered very displeasing to the gods, and 


if a man does take to himself two wives, the other people 
of the village compel him to give one up, and sacrifices 
are offered to the gods and spirits to avert any evil effects 
upon the community for the crime. 

The Dyaks are very particular as to their prohibitive 
degrees, and are opposed to the marriage of relatives. 
The prohibitive degrees are much the same as among 

The Dyak men view marriage as an arrangement for 
the mutual convenience of both parties in order to obtain 
children. Though there is often a great deal of love 
between husband and wife, still, when the marriage is 
childless, the Dyak idea is that the proper thing to do is 
to separate. I have known many childless couples who 
have continued to live together, and have perhaps 
adopted a child ; but they have done so in spite of all that 
has been said to them and in opposition to the wishes of 
their friends. I have often heard Dj^^aks say : " When 
you plant a fruit-tree you expect it to bear fruit, and when 
you marry j^ou expect your wife to bear children." 

The Dyak women generally regard marriage as a means 
of obtaining a man to work for them. A woman will often 
separate from her husband simply because he is lazy, 
and will not do his fair share of the work. There is a 
certain division of labour among Dyaks, and there are 
some kinds of work which it is usual for the man to do, 
and other work which falls to the share of the woman. 
It is no unusual thing to hear a woman who wishes to be 
divorced from a lazy husband say : " I married because 
I wanted a man to work for me ; but if I have to do the 
man's work as well as my own, as I have to with a husband 
like mine, I might just as well be unmarried." 

It must not be supposed from what has been said that 


conjugal affection is rare among the Dyaks. On the con- 
trary, a great deal of it exists, and the men very often 
love their wives and think a great deal of their opinion. 
They will not decide upon any important course of action 
without consulting them. Where there are children, the 
husbands very often help their wives in doing more than 
their share of the man's work, and I have often seen the 
men nursing and fondling their naked babies when the 
mothers were busy. 

Dyaks who have come in contact with civilization, and 
who have been to school themselves, see the advantages 
of being educated, and I know of a Dyak in Saribas who 
married a young wife and sent her to the Society for the 
Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts Girls' School in 
the capital of Sarawak (Kuching) for two years to be taught 
before she came to live with him in his Dyak home. 

As has been mentioned before, the parents of a woman 
often tyrannize over a son-in-law who takes up his 
abode with them. If the woman herself side with her 
parents, it is often very unpleasant for the husband. I 
remember talking over this matter with some Dyaks at 
Sebetan, and telling them that I thought, as a general 
rule, it was better for husband and wife to settle between 
themselves any differences they might have, without 
interference from others, and I mentioned certain cases 
of divorce which, I said, I felt sure would not have come 
about except for the interference of the mothers-in-law, 
who behaved foolishly and caused mischief. Then I 
turned round to one of the men present, and said : — 

" You have lived for many years with your wife's 
relatives, and you seem to be happy enough. You are 
one of the few who have had no differences with the 
relatives of their wives, and live happily in spite of 



your mother-in-law's presence in your house. Is it 
not so ?" 

" Yes," he said, " we do get on very well now, but it was 
not always so. When I was first married, her parents 
were always taking her side against me, and the result 
was that I was ordered about so much, and found fault 
with so often, that I was beginning to get sick of it. 
However, matters soon came to a climax. One day my 
wife was pounding paddy, and, turning to me, she said : 
' This lesong (wooden mortar) is not a nice one ; will you 
make me another ?" I said I would, and I went to the 
jungle, cut down a tree, and made a new wooden mortar, 
and carried it home. She did not like it. It was, in her 
opinion, no better than the other." 

(I may mention here that the Dyak women like a 
mortar that makes a great deal of noise when paddy is 
pounded in it to rid it of the husk. Probably the only 
fault to be found with the mortar was that it did 
not make enough noise when in use to satisfy his 

" I was told," the man continued, " to make another 
lesong for my wife. This I obediently did, but I did not 
succeed in pleasing her with my second attempt any 
better than I did with my first. I was told to go into 
the jungle and make her a third mortar. This I refused 
to do. I said that evidently I could not make a wooden 
mortar to her satisfaction, and the best thmg to do was 
for us to get someone else to make one, and pay him for it. 
She was very angry at my refusal, and said that when she 
married she did not expect to have to buy things which 
other husbands made for their wives. 

"In all this," he said, " my wife was backed up by 
her mother, who, in many ways, had been making mis- 

-^other-in-law returned to her house, and a few 
jS after she and my wife came to fetch me. I went 
back with them, and ever since I have had no serious 
trouble either with my wife or mother-in-law." 

I have already said that until children are born a 
Dyak husband and wife often separate from each other 
for very trivial reasons. After the birth of children there 
is seldom a divorce except for adultery, and even then 
very often the friends and relatives try hard — sometimes 
successfully — ^to persuade the husband and wife to live 
together again for the sake of the children. This lax view 
that Dyaks have of the marriage tie causes them very often 
to marry without any serious consideration. Where 
divorce is easy it naturally follows that marriage ceases 
to be a serious matter, which ought not to be " taken in 

not make enough noise when in use to s. 

" I was told," the man continued, " to make another 
lesong for my wife. This I obediently did, but I did not 
succeed in pleasing her with my second attempt any 
better than I did with my first. I was told to go into 
the jungle and make her a third mortar. This I refused 
to do. I said that evidently I could not make a wooden 
mortar to her satisfaction, and the best thing to do was 
for us to get someone else to make one, and pay him for it. 
She was very angry at my refusal, and said that when she 
married she did not expect to have to buy things which 
other husbands made for their wives. 

" In all this," he said, " my wife was backed up by 
her mother, who, in many ways, had been making mis- 


chief, and was often criticizing my work. I said little, 
but when she called me the ' dead body of a man ' (bangkai 
orang) it was more than I could stand, and when she 
went on to say that I might just as well return to my 
people if I was not going to work, I packed up my clothes 
and returned to my parents. 

" After a few days my mother-in-law came to the house 
of my parents to ask me to return with her. I refused to 
do so, because, I said, I was not sure what sort of recep- 
tion I should get from my wife. She said that she had 
been sent by my wife, and that I need not fear that there 
would be any unpleasantness. Still I refused to return, 
and I told my mother-in-law that I would not return 
unless my wife came herseK to ask me." 

(I may remark that it is a very unusual thing for a man 
to speak in this way to his mother-in-law. She is treated 
with so much respect that it is very seldom a Dyak dares 
to oppose her wishes.) 

" My mother-in-law returned to her house, and a few 
days after she and my wife came to fetch me. I went 
back with them, and ever smce I have had no serious 
trouble either with my wife or mother-in-law." 

I have already said that until children are born a 
Dyak husband and wife often separate from each other 
for very trivial reasons. After the birth of children there 
is seldom a divorce except for adultery, and even then 
very often the friends and relatives try hard — sometimes 
successfully — to persuade the husband and wife to live 
together again for the sake of the children. This lax view 
that Dyaks have of the marriage tie causes them very often 
to marry without any serious consideration. Where 
divorce is easy it naturally follows that marriage ceases 
to be a serious matter, which ought not to be " taken in 


hand unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly," as the marriage 
service has it. 

I remember one day holding a service at a little chapel 
in a village in Saribas, and giving an address on marriage, 
and trying to explain to my small congregation of Dyaks 
the Christian view of it. I said that marriage ought to 
be a life-long tie, that the Dyak custom of husband and 
wife separating for any trivial cause was a bad one, and that 
Christians, when married, should live together " for 
better for worse " till death parted them. An old Dyak 
present interrupted me by asking : " What if one of them 
commits adultery ?" 

I went on to say that adultery was the only reason 
which Christ said justified a divorce. 

I mention this little incident because I think it shows 
in an indirect way that deep down in the Dyak heart there 
is a feeling that adultery is a terrible crime, far worse 
than any other, and that where there has been adultery 
it is impossible for husband and wife to live happily 


Life beyond the grave — Wailings — Rice strewn on the dead man's 
chest — The professional wailer — Feeding the dead — Carrying the 
dead— The grave — Articles buried with the dead — Baiya — Fire 
lit at sunset — The ulit, or mourning — Pana, or offering to the dead 
— The waUer's song — Sumpinj — Periodical Sahah — Feast in 
honour of the dead — Gawai Antu — The dead not forgotten — Other 
methods of disposing of the dead besides burial — Dyak ideas of a 
future life. 

DEATH for the Dyak does not mean the end of all. 
He has a belief in a life beyond the grave — a 
life different indeed from his existence in the 
flesh, with all its cares and anxieties, a life with little of 
the spiritual about it, but still, for all that, life, and not 
annihilation. The soul survives burial, and in Hades 
(Sahayan) Hves anew much the same life as he does on 
earth, building houses and sowing and planting as do his 
friends and relatives in this world. He is able to watch 
those on earth, and can help them when required, and 
so his aid is often asked for in time of need. And in the 
Sea Dyak burial rites there are seen glimpses of a belief 
in the communion between those on earth and those 
who have crossed the River of Death, such as we would 
expect to find only among people of a higher civilization 
and a higher education. 

From that distant unknown land of Death the spirits 



of the dead relatives and friends of the dying man come 
in a long boat, so the Dyaks say, to take his soul away. 
For a long time there is a struggle between those on earth 
trying to keep him back and the unseen spirits urging 
him to join them. Over and over again when the man 
loses consciousness there are distracted cries from those 
around of " Pulai ! Pulai /" — " Come back ! Come 
back !" 

The witch-doctors, who are often called in, try by their 
incantations to frighten away the spirits. 

Immediately the breath has left the body, the female 
relatives begin loud and melancholy waihngs. They wash 
the corpse and get it ready for burial. All the able- 
bodied men of the village turn out to help the bereaved 
family, as in a hot climate the burial has to take place 
within twenty-four hours. 

Bice is strewn on the dead man's chest. This is a 
propitiation to the gods for any wrong he may have done 
while ahve. According to Dyak ideas, death is the 
punishment for some sin, and for that sin some sacrifice 
must be made, or the hving may also suffer for it. By 
sin is meant either the doing of any of the thousand and 
one things which a Dyak considers forbidden by the gods, 
or the disregarding of the warnings of birds or dreams. 
While this sin-offering is being made, others collect his 
belongings — his clothes, his implements of work, his 
shield, his spear — all of which are to be buried with him, 
and which he is supposed to make use of in the other 
world. The corpse is dressed in its best garments, and is 
borne into the great open veranda or common hall {ruai), 
and covered with a Dyak sheet. Here he is surrounded 
by the friends and relatives, to be mourned over. Some- 
times a professional waller sits on a swing near the head 


of the corpse and sings her song of mourning. She calls 
upon the different parts of the house, beginning at the 
roof -ridge and proceeding downwards, and blames them 
for not keeping back the soul of the dead man. Then in 
highly figurative language she speaks of the journey to 
Hades, and asks the spirits to guide his soul in the right 
direction, so that he may not lose his way. 

While the body is laid out in the pubUc part of the 
house none may step over the corpse. There is no special 
reason against this except the general belief that if such 
a thing were done the dead man would not Uve happily 
in Hades, but would continually visit his former home 
and trouble the Hving. 

At sunset a fire is Ht by the side of the corpse. All 
through the long hours of the night the sad watchers sit 
around, and the loud sustained cry of the professional 
waller mingles with the sobs and spasmodic utterances of 
those who feel most the loss of the dead man. 

Early on the following morning food is given him to 
strengthen him for that long journey to Hades, and a Httle 
cotton-wool is placed as a pillow for his head. The food is 
given to the dead in a curious manner. Rice is dashed into 
his mouth, and the earthen cooking-pot is then broken 
in pieces — it may not be used for the Hving, having once 
been used for the dead. The pillow of cotton-wool is 
about the size of a pigeon's egg, and, as far as can be 
gathered from the Dyaks, it in some way insures the 
comfort of the dead man in the other world. 

Then the body, wrapped in mats and covered over with 
a light framework of wood, is carried on the shoulders 
of four men. As they descend the ladder ashes from the 
fire burnt near the corpse are thrown after them by the 
people who are left in the house. This is done in order 


that the dead man may not know his way back to the 
house, and may thus be unable to trouble his friends after- 
wards. The women are not permitted to accompany the 
body to its burial, so they raise a dismal wail as the body 
is carried away from the house. 

The body is either taken by boat or carried on foot to 
the jungle, where a tree is to be cut down for the coffin. 
When the spot is reached a halt is made, A fowl is killed, 
and the blood is collected in a cup and mixed with a httle 
water. Each person present is touched with the blood, 
to propitiate the gods of the infernal world and to secure 
immunity from any evil consequences to the persons en- 
gaged in the funeral rites. They now set to work to make 
the coffin. A tree is felled, and the required length cut 
off. This is split in two, and each half is hollowed out. 
The corpse is then placed in this rude coffin, the two 
parts of which are now firmly lashed together with 

The crowd then proceed either on foot or by boat to 
the place of burial. The burial-ground, or pendam, is 
generally on the side of a hill. The trees are not cut 
down, and there is nothing to distinguish the pendam 
from ordinary jungle. The Dyaks regard a cemetery 
with superstitious terror as the abode of spirits, and never 
go to it except to bury their dead, and when they do this 
thoy do not stay longer than they can help, but hurry 
away lest they should meet some spirit from the other 
world. The consequence is that the place is wild and 
uncared for. The graves, being shallow and not fenced 
round, are often dug up by wild pigs or bears, and bones 
and skulls strew the ground. 

When they reach the spot where the grave is to be, 
some rice is scattered on the ground. This rice is the 


price paid to Pulang Gana, the spirit who owns the land, 
for the grave. Then a fowl is killed, and the blood 
sprinkled on the ground. These offerings are made to 
prevent the spirits from hurting any of those who take 
part in digging the grave. 

The graves are rarely more than three feet deep. The 
Dyaks dare not step into the grave to deepen it, because, 
according to their superstitious ideas, anyone who does 
such a thing will die a violent death. They use no spade 
or hoe to turn up the earth, but cut the soil with their 
choppers, and throw up the mould with their hands. 
They dig into it as far as their arms will reach and no 

The corpse is lowered into the grave hurriedly, and all 
present shout. They cry to the dead man, but why they 
do so or what advantage is gained by doing so is not clear. 
The reason why the body is hurriedly buried is the fear 
lest the cry of some sacred bird may be heard, and the 
burial of the man become unpropitious ; the less time 
they take in putting the corpse into the grave the less 
chance there is of this. 

With the corpse are put for use in the next world 
various articles of clothing, personal ornaments, weapons 
of warfare, implements for farm work, and even instru- 
ments of music, according to the sex and natural pro- 
clivities of the dead. Some of these things belonged to 
the departed ; others are given by friends as tokens of 
affection. Rice, tobacco, and betel-nut are also cast into 
the grave, as these things may be needed in the other 
world. It used to be the custom to place money, gold 
and silver ornaments, and brass utensils in the grave, 
but these articles were so often stolen that, nowadays, it 
is the practice to break in pieces all the utensils placed 


in the grave. Jars and brass gongs are not buried with 
the corpse, but placed on the grave. When all this has 
been done, the grave is fenced round, and food and drink 
are placed in the enclosure, and at either end something 
is put to indicate the sex and favourite occupation of the 
deceased. If the grave be that of a warrior, it is roofed 
and decorated with streamers, and such of his weapons 
as are not buried with him are hung about, and the ground 
around is paHsaded and spiked. The grave of the hunter 
is distinguished by his blow-pipe and quiver, together with 
the trophies of the chase — stags' antlers and boars' tusks. 
Some article of feminine attire or work — spindles or 
petticoats, or waist-rings or water-gourds — indicate the 
graves of women. The graves of the rich have valuable 
jars or gongs, which are secured in their places by 
having a stake driven through them and thus rendered 

A hghted torch is always carried to a funeral, and when 
the body is buried it is extinguished at the grave. 

The articles which are buried with the dead person or 
put upon the grave are called haiya. They are for the use 
of the spirit in the other world. The Dyaks argue that 
though the articles placed on the grave remain there, still 
the spirit of these articles are of use to the soul in Hades, 
and so their gifts are not wasted. 

Those of the mourners who leave the grave last plant 
sharpened stakes in the ground, so that the spirit of the 
dead man may not follow them back to the Byak house, 
the stakes planted in the ground being supposed to prevent 
his return. 

At sunset on the day of death, a fire is ht at the landing- 
place on the bank of the river near the house of the dead 
man. This fire is kept burning all night. For three or 


four evenings after death they light a fire either at the 
landing-place or somewhere outside the house. This is for 
the use of the departed, for in Hades fire is not to be 
procured without paying for it, and if the dead find any 
difficulty about obtaining fire, they can come and fetch 
it from the fire ht by their earthly friends. This idea 
does not seem consistent with the many things done to 
prevent the soul of the dead man finding his way back to 
his earthly home. 

When there is a death among the Dyaks, none of the 
inmates of the house do any farm work on the day of the 
funeral. In the case of the death of a Chief, they refrain 
from work for three days or even more. 

When anyone dies, the ulit, or mourning, has to be ob- 
served by the immediate relatives of the deceased, and 
continues until the feast in honour of the dead [Gawai 
Antu) is held. All the finery and bright articles of 
apparel belonging to the relatives are tied up in a bundle 
and put away. At the Gawai Antu the string which 
binds this bundle together is cut by the headman of the 
house, and they may use their bright garments again. 
The mourning {ulit) includes many other restrictions 
beside the prohibition of ornaments and bright-coloured 
clothing. There must be no striking of gongs or drums 
or dancing or merrymaking in the house. In the old days 
the mourning could not end until one of the relatives 
managed to secm'e a human head. 

On the third day an observance called Pana is made. 
A plate containing rice and other eatables, as well as a 
Dyak chopper, an axe, and a cup, are taken by several of 
the neighbours to the room of the dead person. They 
go to tell the mourners to weep no more, and to give the 
dead man food. They enter the room, and one of them 


— generally an old man of some standing — pushes open 
the window with the chopper, and the offering of food 
is thrown out for the benefit of the dead man and his 
spirit companions. Up to this time the near relatives of 
the dead man Hve in strict seclusion in their room, but 
after it they may come out to the public part of the house 
and return to their usual occupations. But the ulit, or 
mourning, is still observed, and does not come to an end 
till the feast in honour of the dead {Gaivai Antu) is 

Among tribes where professional wallers exist it is not 
enough to throw the offering of food out of the window 
at the back of the house. The waller must help to send 
that food to Hades. She sings her incantation and calls 
upon the adjutant bird to convey the articles of food 
and the tears and sobs of the relatives to the other world. 
The bird, so sings the waller, speeds on its way, and 
arrives at the Country of the Dead. There the spirits are 
supposed to see the visitant, and inquire where it comes 
from and what is the object of its journey. " Do you 
come to look at the widows ? We have thirty-and-one ; 
but only one is handsome. Do you come to seek after 
maidens ? We have thirty-and-three ; but only one is 
beautiful." "No," says the bird, "we have many 
widows and maidens in the land of the hving ; and they 
are all beautiful and admired of men." They ask as they 
see what it carries : " What is that you have brought with 
you so securely covered up ?" "Bring a vessel, and I 
will pour the contents of my burden into it." A large 
vessel is brought, the crowd stand expectant around, and 
the bird pours out the offering of food, and lo ! the eatables, 
as well as the tears and sobs of the Hving which accompany 
them, have become gold and silver and precious stones 


wondrously beautiful. Btit the inhabitants of Hades 
cannot understand what it all means, and quarrel among 
themselves. Then an old learned woman, who has lived 
in Hades very many years, speaks. She bids them be 
silent and listen to her, and she explains that the bird has 
come from the land of the hving with presents for them 
from their earthly friends. 

Until thjis Pana is made, the Dyaks say the soul of the 
dead man is unsettled. It has not quite left this world, 
and Hades will not receive it or give it food and drink. 
But after this observance it is received and welcomed as a 
regular denizen of the spirit world. 

There is another observance called Summing, which is 
sometimes carried out at a varying period after death. 
The Dyaks bring the symbols and trophies of a head- 
hunting raid and place them in the middle of the public 
hall of the house. The waller sings her incantation, and 
procures the services of the Spirit of the Winds to convey 
them to the dead, whose abode, until now full of discom- 
fort and darkness, becomes at sight of these trophies 
filled with Ught. The spirits rejoice at the thought that 
their relatives have revenged upon others their own 

This observance, according to ancient custom, could 
not be held until the head of an enemy had been obtained. 
It brings out the darker and fiercer side of the Dyak 
nature. They would fight with Death if they could, and 
rescue their dead friends from his clutches. But as they 
cannot do this, they rejoice in taking vengeance upon the 
living and kiUing someone, so that their relatives in Hades 
may have the satisfaction of saying : " My death has been 
avenged. A life has been paid for my Hfe." In these 
days, when the Dyaks live under a strong and just 


Government, it is very seldom that this observance can 
be carried out according to ancient custom ; now they 
have either to dispense with the newly-procured human 
head or omit the observance altogether. 

The dead man is not forgotten. Periodical mournings 
{sdbak) at intervals of two or three months are held in his 
memory, and the professional waller calls on the dead 
man and weeps over him. The relatives work themselves 
up into a frenzy of sorrow on these occasions, and many 
of them are often seen weeping sadly. The Dyaks beUeve 
that the dead hear their cries, and that a bond of sympathy 
unites them with those on earth, 

A year or two after the death the Gmvai Antu is held. 
This feast is held in honour of all those that have died 
since the last Gawai Antu was held. SmaU, curiously- 
shaped baskets, supposed to represent the dififerent imple- 
ments a man or woman uses in work when alive, are made 
and placed on the different graves. Thus they furnish 
the dead with the means of Uvehhood in Hades. This 
feast ends all mourning for the dead, and after it has been 
held there are no more periodical mournings. 

But even after aU mourning has ceased the Dyak still 
beUeves that his dead friends and relatives Uve and visit 
the earth. Before going forth on an expedition against 
the enemy, the dead are invoked, and are begged to help 
their friends on earth, so that they may be successful 
against their foes. In times of peril and of need the dead 
are called upon ; and on the hilltops or in the sohtudes 
of the jungle a man often goes by himself and spends the 
night in the hope that the spirit of some dead relative 
may visit him, and in a dream teU him of some charm by 
means of which ^he may overcome difficulties and become 
rich and great . 


Burial is the usual, but not the only, mode of disposing 
of the dead. Maimngs, or witch-doctors, are never buried, 
but their coffins are hung up in the cemetery. Among 
some tribes a young child dying before he has any teeth 
is put in a jar instead of a coffin, and this is tied to the 
branch of some tree in the burial-ground. 

The Dyak beUeves in a future life, but it is simply a 
prolongation of the present state of things in a new 
sphere. Even the journey from this world to the land 
of spirits is much Uke the journey from one part of the 
country to another. The traveller must be provided with 
food and money for his journey, which may take a longer 
or a shorter time, dependent to a great extent on the 
liberaUty of his friends here on earth and to the kindness 
of those whose houses he passes in his journey to the 
spirit world. 

If the dead man has been able while in this terrestrial 
sphere to provide for himself assistance in the world of 
spirits, then his life in the other world wiU be an easy 
one. The spirits of the enemies whose heads he has taken 
become his slaves in the other world, and the man who 
has succeeded in killing many enemies Uves in Hades a 
life of ease. 

I have given the general belief among the Sea Dyaks 
about the future existence. But occasionally other con- 
ceptions are met with. The idea of metempsychosis is 
not unknown, and I have met a Dyak who treated a snake 
with the greatest kindness, because he said it had been 
revealed to him in a dream that the spirit of his grand- 
father dwelt in that snake. 

Some Dyaks speak of a series of spirit worlds through 
which their souls must pass before they become finally 
extinct. Some Dyaks say they have to die three times ; 


others say seven times ; but all seem to agree in the 
idea that after these successive dyings they practically 
cease to exist, and are absorbed into air and fog. 
They do not believe in an endless life, because per- 
haps they lack the mental capacity to conceive of such 
a thing. 


Travelling by boat — Paddles v. oars — Dangers — Tidal bores — Sand- 
banks — Langan — Up-river travelling — Poling — Camping out at 
night — Travelling on foot — Jungle paths — Scenery — Wild animals 
— The Orang-utan — Vegetation. 

MOST of the Sea Dyaks live on the banks of the 
rivers, so that travelling is usually done by boat . 
The lower reaches of the river have very swift tides, 
against which it is impossible to row or paddle ; so, 
when travelling up-river, the flood-tide is taken advantage 
of, and the boat either anchors or is tied to the bank 
durmg the ebb, and vice versa. Some of the boats used 
by the Dyaks are roomy and well built. The Bala vis are 
very good boat-buUders, and their boats are very well 
made and swift. 

The question is sometimes raised as to whether oars or 
paddles propel a boat best. If the number of boatmen 
be taken into consideration, then oars certainly drive a 
boat along much faster than paddles. Four oars would 
be sufficient for a boat thirty or forty feet long, but for a 
boat of that length at least twenty paddles would be 
needed to make it travel at any pace. 

The Dyaks sit in their boats on a rough matting made 
of split bamboo tied together with cane. For shelter 
against the sun and rain they have an awning made of 

145 10 


palm-leaves {kadjang). This is tied on to a rough frame- 
work of wood fixed on the boat, and is an excellent pro- 
tection against the weather. 

There are many dangers to be guarded against when 
travelling by boat in Borneo. Many rivers have a large 
tidal bore during the spring-tides, and if the boat be in 
some narrow part of the river when it meets the tidal 
bore it is likely to be swamped. The safest course is to 
wait for the tidal bore in some broad part of the river, 
where it is not at all dangerous. 

There are also many sand-banks, and though Dyak 
boats draw little water, still these have to be guarded 
agamst when the tide is very swift. I have known cases 
where a boat has struck against a sand-bank and been 
rolled over and over by the swift tide, and lives lost. 

In certain parts of the lower reaches of the large 
Bornean rivers, where large sand-banks are to be found, 
the swift incommg spring-tide makes, soon after it has 
covered the sand-bank, a peculiar dangerous motion of 
the water, called by the natives langan. We all know 
the bubbling appearance of boiling water in an open pot, 
and if we picture to ourselves that kind of thing on a very 
large scale, it will give a good idea of what the langan is 
like. It does not last long in any particular part of the 
river, because, as soon as the water has risen and is deeper, 
the langan disappears. It is most dangerous. The 
peculiar motion of the water is so irregular and uncertain 
that small boats are easily swamped, and many lives have 
been lost owing to this langan. The part of the Batang 
Lupar near the village of Rawan is particularly dangerous 
from this cause. I have known of many cases of a Dyak 
boat being swamped by the langan there, and not a single 
person being saved. Though the Dyaks are good swim- 


mers, the boat is roiled over by the swift current, and 
they have no chance of saving themselves. When I have 
had to travel past Rawan during the spring-tides when 
there is most danger, if the tide has only just made, I have 
thought it wisest not to run any risks, and have told my 
boatmen to fasten the boat to the bank, and wait for ten 
minutes, and not to proceed till there was no danger of 
being swamped by the terrible langan. 

In the rapids up the rivers travelling is done in a " dug- 
out," because that draws little water. The boat has a 
long cane or creeper tied to the bows, and when it has 
to be pulled over the rapids some of the men drag at this, 
while the others remain in the boat and work with their 
poles or small paddles. The skill with which the Dyaks 
pole the boat along, as they stand up in it, is beautiful to 
see. With a skilful turn of the pole they will guide the 
boat past some huge boulder which it seems impossible 
to avoid. The sensation to one sitting in a boat going 
over the rapids, either up or down stream, is not particu- 
larly pleasant. The boat is bumped and jerked about, 
and the water often splashes in. At times the boat will 
be propelled by poles ; then, when the water is too shallow, 
the men jump out and walk by the side, pulling the boat 
along. When they get to deeper water, they jump in 

The Dyaks are most excellent companions when 
travelling has to be done. They are hard-working and 
good-tempered, and most resourceful. When one is 
travelling in small "' dug-outs " in the upper reaches of 
the river, it often happens that he has to spend some 
nights on the journey. If any Dyak house be near, the 
travellers make for it, knowing well that the hospitable 
mmates will gladly give them shelter. But sometimes 


they have to camp out on the river-bank. It is quite 
remarkable how well the Dyaks manage under such cir- 
cumstances. I have always admired the way in which 
in a very short time wood and creepers are got from the 
jungle, and a little hut put up for me on a cleared spot 
on the river-bank. The creepers are used for tying the 
wood together ; the kadjang from the boat is fastened 
up for the roof of the little hut ; a flooring, two or three 
feet off the ground, is made of laths of wood tied together 
with creepers ; my small cork boat mattress and curtain 
are fixed up ; and in about an hour's time I am safely 
lodged for the night. The Dyaks themselves are very 
hardy. They will wrap themselves up in their puah, or 
sheet, and sleep in the open air, sometimes on mats ; but 
if there are no mats, they will make for themselves a bed 
of leaves on the ground, and think it no great hardship 
to sleep on this. 

When travelling has to be done on foot, one has to 
walk on a Dyak jungle path, which consists of the trunks 
of the giants of the forest placed m a line. No attempt 
is made to hew the round trunks into an even upper 
surface, so one must walk carefully lest he slip off ; for 
in some parts the bark on these tree-trunks is rotten, 
and in others there is a growth of wet slippery moss. 
Over the jungle streams there are Dyak bridges made, 
like the path, of the trunk of a tree, sometimes with a 
light hand-rail tied to it, sometimes not. 

I have often travelled on foot through the jungle, 
accompanied by Dyaks carrying my baggage. We have 
walked in single file on these trunks of trees, and have 
listened to the weird jungle sounds — the creaking of 
giant trees, the strange cries of insects, or birds, or 
monkeys. And sometimes in the gathering darkness, 


when the storm-clouds have hurried overhead and the 
winds shrieked through the tree-tops in fierce discord, 
ruthlessly twanging the harp-strings of Nature, I have 
understood why it is that the Dyaks believe that the lone 
forests are inhabited by the spirits of the wind and the 
rivers, of the mountains and the trees. 

No one can adequately realize the Equatorial Bornean 
jungle until he sees it in all its wonder — the heated steamy 
stillness broken by weird sounds, the colossal trees, the 
birds with brilliant plumage, and the infinite variety of 
monkeys among the branches, sitting, hanging by hands 
or tails, leaping, grimacing, jabbering, as they see the 
strange sight of human beings invading their domains. 

What are the wild animals that the traveller is likely 
to meet as he walks through the jungle ? The animal 
life of Borneo is akin to that of Sumatra or Java, but 
with certain differences. Borneo is free from tigers, and 
this is fortunate, for travelling through the forests would 
be dangerous indeed if tigers were likely to be encoun- 
tered. The only wild animals to be met with are the 
small and comparatively harmless tree-tiger, and the 
small brown honey-bear, but neither of them is much 
feared. There are, of course, ferocious crocodiles in the 
rivers, and many varieties of snakes, varying in size from 
the python downwards. But the cobra, so much dreaded 
in India, is not met with in Borneo, and death from a 
snake-bite is very rare. The elephant and the rhinoceros 
seem to be confined to the north end of the island. There 
is the great man-like ape — the orang-utan, or maias, as it 
is called by the Dyaks. It is only found in a limited area, 
in the territory between the Batang Lupar and the 
Rejang Rivers. As a rule, this animal does not exceed 
the height of four feet two inches, though there are 


stories told of its attaining a far greater size. The 
height, however, gives a poor idea of the animal's bulk 
and strength. The body is as large as that of an average 
man, but the legs are extremely short. Its arms are of 
great length, and measure over seven feet in spread. 
The whole body is covered with long red hair. It rarely 
attacks man, but when provoked is very ferocious, and 
as its strength is very great, it is a foe not to be despised. 
There are numerous wild boars in the jungle, but they 
never attack the traveller, and are not a source of danger. 

The vegetation of Borneo is rich and varied. By the 
seashore and at the mouths of the rivers there grows the 
nifa palm, "the tree of a thousand uses." The young 
leaves are used for makmg kadjangs, the awnings with 
which Dyak boats are covered. The old leaves are made 
into attap for the roofs and walls of their houses. From 
the blossom a sweet drink is obtained, and this is con- 
verted into sugar. From the ashes of the burnt stump 
of this palm salt is obtained. As one travels up a Bornean 
river the nipa palms become less and less plentiful, and 
one finds the banks covered with mangroves. These 
trees thrive on the muddy banks. A network of roots 
grows out of the stem several feet above the soil, and 
keeps them firm. At night these mangroves are lit up 
by myriads of fireflies. The missionary stationed at 
Banting many years ago had all the mangrove- trees, 
except one on each side of his landing-place, cut down, 
and on the darkest night there was no difficulty in know- 
ing where his boat was to stop. These two trees, covered 
with fireflies, were not to be mistaken in the surrounding 

In Borneo there are many varieties of palms. There is 
the nibong palm, the trunk of which is often used for the 


posts of native houses. When split up, it is used for the 
fiooring. There is the sago palm, from the pith of the 
trunk of which sago is obtained. There are the cocoanut 
and betel-nut palms, and lastly a useful climbing palm — ■ 
the cane, or rotan — which is exported in great quantities 
and used for the seats of chairs. 

There are many kinds of useful woods to be found in 
the Bornean jungles. There is the hilian, or iron-wood, 
which Ls so valuable for building purposes, as it is practi- 
cally indestructible. It will not rot in earth or water, 
and it Ls the only wood that the white ants cannot destroy. 
There are also many other hard woods used for the 
building of houses and the making of keels for boats. 

The ebony-tree is to be found in Borneo. The ebony 
is the heart of the tree, the rest of the wood being of a 
light colour. 

The camphor-tree is also found, as well as various trees 
which produce gutta and rubber of different sorts. 

There are many fruit-trees, but the fruit most loved by 
the Dyaks is the durian. This grows on a large tree, and 
is about the size of a man's head. When ripe, it is easily 
split open, and in it are pods in which are rows of seeds 
covered with a sweet pulp. 


Seven omen birds — Other omen animals — Omens sought before 
beginning rice -farming — House-building omens — Substitutions for 
omens — Good and bad omens in farming — A dead animal — Means 
of avoiding bad effects — Omens obeyed at all times — Bird flying 
through a house — A drop of blood — Killing an omen bird or insect 
— Origin of the system of omens — Augury — Dreams. 

THE Dyak is conscious of his ignorance of the 
natural laws which govern the world in which he 
Uves. He longs for some guidance in his pre- 
carious farming, in his work in the lonely depths of the 
jungle, in his boating over the dangerous rapids or 
treacherous tides of the swift rivers. He is aware that 
injury or death may suddenly confront him from many 
an unexpected source. He knows that Nature has voices, 
many and varied, and he is convinced that if he could 
only understand those voices aright, he would know when 
to advance and when to recede. He feeLs the need of 
guidance, and he has devised for himself a system of 

Like the ancient Romans, who took auguries from the 
flight or notes of certain birds — the raven, the owl, the 
magpie, the eagle, and the vulture — the Dyak has his 
sacred birds, whose flight or calls are supposed to intimate 
to him the will of unseen powers. They are seven in 
number, and their native names are : Katwpong, Beragai, 



Kutoh, Emhuas, NendaJc, Papau, and Bejamponc. They 
are beautiful in plumage, but, like most tropical birds, 
they have httle song, and their calls are shrill and piercing. 
They are supposed to be manifestations of the seven 
spirit sons of the great god Singalang Burong (see the 
" Story of Siu," p. 278). 

The system, as carried out by the Dyaks, is most 
elaborate and comphcated, and the younger men have 
constantly to ask the older ones how to act in unexpected 
combinations of apparently contradictory omens. The 
law and observance of omens occupy a greater share of 
the thoughts of the Dyak than any other part of his 
rehgion. ' 

It is not only to the cry of birds that the Dyaks pay 
heed. There are certain animals — the deer, the arma- 
dillo, the lizard, the bat, the pjrthon, the cobra, even the 
rat, as well as certain insects — which all may give omens 
under special circumstances. But these other creatures 
are subordinate to the birds, from which alone augury is 
sought at the beginning of any important undertaking. 

Some idea of the method in which the Dyaks carry out 
their system of omens may be gathered from what is done 
at the commencement of the yearly rice-farming. Some 
man who has the reputation of being fortunate, and has 
had large paddy crops, will be the augur, and undertake 
to obtain omens for a large area of land on which he and 
others intend to plant. The Dyaks begin clearing the 
ground of jungle and high grass when the Pleiades appear 
at a certain height above the horizon at sunset. Some 
little time before this the augur sets about his work. 
He will have to hear the cry of the nendah, the katiipong, 
and the heragai, all on his left. If these cries come from 
birds on his right, they are not propitious. The cries of 


the other sacred birds must sound on his right. He goes 
forth in the early morning, and wanders about the jungle 
till the cry of the nendak is heard on his left. He will 
then break off a twig of anything growing near, and take 
it home and put it in a safe place. But it may happen 
that some other omen bird or animal is first to be seen 
or heard. In that case he must give the matter up, 
return, and try his chance another day. Thus, some- 
times several days pass before he has obtained his first 
omen. When he has heard the nendak, he will then listen 
for the katwpong and the other birds in the necessary order. 
There is always the habiUty of delays caused by the wrong 
birds being heard, and it may possibly be a month or more 
before he obtains all those augural predictions, which will 
give him confidence that his farming for the year will be 
successful. When the augur has collected a twig for each 
bird he has heard, he takes these to the land selected for 
farming, buries them in the ground, and with a short form 
of address to the birds and to Pulang Gana — the god of 
the Earth — clears a small portion of the ground of grass 
or jungle, and then returns home. The magic virtues of 
the birds have been conveyed to the land, and the 
work of clearing it for planting may be begun at any 

The sacred birds can be bad omens as well as good. 
If heard on the wrong side, or in the wrong order, the 
matter in hand must be postponed or altogether aban- 
doned, unless a subsequent conjunction of good omens 
occurs, which in the judgment of old experts more than 
counterbalances the bad omens. 

I have mentioned the omens necessary before planting 
the seed. In a similar manner, before beginning to build 
a house, or starting on a war expedition, or undertaking 


any new line of action, certain omens are required if good 
fortune is to attend them and the Fates be propitious. 

For house-building, the cries of the same birds are 
required, and in the same order as before planting the 
seed. But for a Avar expedition, birds heard on the right 
hand are best, except in the case of the nendak, which 
may be heard either on the right or on the left hand side. 

There are, I believe, certain substitutions for this 
tedious process of seeking the omens of birds. It is said 
that for farming, if a piece of gold be hidden in the 
ground, the hearing of the proper omen birds may be 
dispensed with. If a fowl be sacrificed, and the blood 
made to drop in a hole in the earth in which the fowl is 
afterwards buried, it is said the gods will be satisfied, 
and a good harvest ensue. And on the occasion of a war 
expedition, if an offering is made with beating of gongs 
and drums on starting from the house, it is said that no 
cries of birds need be obeyed afterwards. But none of 
these methods are ever used, the Dyaks preferring to 
submit to the tedious procedure of listening to the cries 
of the birds. 

It is in regard to farming that the practice is most con- 
spicuous. And if any of these omen birds are heard or seen 
by the Dyak on his way to his work on his paddy land, it 
foretells either good or evil to himseK or to his farm — if 
good, then all is well, and he goes on his way rejoicing ; 
if evil, he will at once turn back and wait for the following 
day before going to his work again. The nendak foretells 
good, whether heard on the right hand or the left ; so 
does the katwpong ; but the papau is of evil omen, and, 
if heard, the man must at once beat a retreat. A beragai 
heard occasionally does not matter, but if heard fre- 
quently, no work must be done for one day. The embiias 


heard on the right hand is very bad, and in order to 
insure a good harvest, the unlucky man must not work 
on his farm for five days. The cry of the heragai acts as 
an antidote, and destroys the bad effects of the cries of 
birds of bad omen. For instance, the k^dok and katupong 
are both birds of bad omen, but if after hearing them the 
cry of a heragai is heard, no evil effects need be dreaded. 
If the cry of a deer, a gazelle, or a mouse-deer be heard, 
or if a rat crosses the path of a man on his way to his 
farm, a day's rest is necessary, or he will either cut 
himself, or become ill, or suffer by failure of his crop. 

When a remarkably good omen is heard — one which 
foretells a plentiful harvest — the man must go to his 
farm at once, and do some trifling work there, and then 
return, and in this way clench the foreshadowed luck 
and at the same time reverence the spirit who promises 
it. Should a deer, a gazelle, or a mouse-deer come out of 
the jungle to the farm when a man is at work there, it is 
an exceptionally good omen. It means that customers 
wiU come to buy the paddy, and that therefore the crop 
wiU be very good in order that there may be paddy to 
seU. They honour this omen by resting from work for 
three days. 

But the worst of aU omens is to find anywhere on the 
farm the dead body of any animal, especially if it be 
that of any animal included in the omen list. It infuses 
a deadly poison into the whole crop, and one or other of 
the owner's family wiU certainly die within the year. 
When such a terrible thing happens, the omen is tested 
by kiUing a pig, and divining from the appearance of its 
Hver directly after death. If the hver be pronounced to 
be of good omen, then all is weU, but if not, then aU the 
rice grown on that ground must be sold or given away. 


Other people may eat it, for the omen affects only those 
who own the crops. 

A way of escaping from the bad effects of omens is 
sometimes resorted to. Certain men, who by some 
pecuMar magic influence are credited with possessing in 
themselves some occult power which can overcome bad 
omens, are able by eating some little thing of the produce 
of the farm to turn away the evil prognostication and 
render it ineffectual. Something grown on the farm — a 
Httle Indian corn or a few cucumber-shoots — is taken to 
the man. For a small consideration he eats it raw. By 
this means he appropriates to himself the evil omen, 
which can do him no harm, and thus delivers the owner 
of the farm from any possible evil in the future. 

The Dyak pays heed to these ominous creatures not 
only in his farming, but in all his journeyings and in any 
kind of work he may be engaged in. If he be going to 
visit a friend, the cry of a bird of ill omen will send him 
back. If he be engaged in carrying beams from the 
jungle for his house, and hear a kutok, or bejampong, or 
an embuas, he wiU at once throw down the piece of timber, 
and it will be left there for a day or two, or perhaps 
abandoned altogether. If at night the inhabitants of a 
long Dyak house hear an owl make a peculiar noise called 
sabut, they will all hastily leave the house in the early 
morning, and remain away, Uving in temporary sheds, 
for some weeks, and return to the house only when they 
hear a nendak or beragai cry on their left. There are 
many omens which make a place unfit for habitation — 
for example, a beragai flying over the house or an arma- 
diUo crawling up into it. 

So great is the Dyak beUef in omens that a man will 
sometimes abandon a nearly finished boat simply because 


a bird of ill omen flies across its bows. The labour of 
weeks will thus be wasted. I have myself seen wooden 
beams and posts left half finished in the jungle, and have 
learned on inquiry that some bird of ill omen was heard 
while the man was at work on them, and so they had 
to be abandoned. 

If a katupong flies in at one end of the house and flies 
out at the other, it is a bad omen, and the house is often 
abandoned. On one of my visits to Sebetan there was 
great excitement at the Dyak house near mine because 
on the previous night a katupong had flown through the 
house. Opinions were divided. Some thought the house 
ought to be abandoned ; others said that if sacrifices were 
offered, there was no need to desert the house. My opinion 
was asked. At that time of the "year the Dyak house was 
very empty, as most of the famifies, if not aU, would be 
living on their farms, and I said : " You have fruit-trees 
growing thickly all round your houses, and as you leave 
your houses empty, I am not surprised at any bird flying 
through the house." My matter-of-fact ideas were not 
much approved. As usual in doubtful cases, they sacri- 
ficed a pig and examined its Hver, Luckily, the omen 
was good, so they continued to live in the house ; other- 
wise, they would have had to leave that house and build 

To see a drop of blood on a mat or on the floor of a 
Dyak house is considered a bad omen, which sometimes 
necessitates the abandoning of the house altogether. I 
remember hearing a woman of this same house in Sebetan 
relate that, after she and the children had had their 
evening meal, she was putting away the plates on the 
rack in the wall, when she saw a drop of fresh blood on 
the mat. The Dyaks considered it a most terrible thing 


to happen. I was asked what 1 thought about it. I 
said that probably one of the children had a cut finger, 
and the blood was from that. The mother was positive 
the blood was not that of any of her children. I said 
that perhaps there was a wounded rat in the roof, and 
the blood was from it. I could see that the Dyaks con- 
sidered me very ignorant. They told me that they were 
sure the blood must be that of some spirit who chose that 
method of showing his displeasure. It was useless for 
me to argue that if the spirit was invisible, his blood must 
be invisible, too. 

To kill one of these omen creatures, be it bird or 
insect, is a crime which will certainly be punished by 
sickness or death. But this sacredness of hfe, it may be 
noticed, does not apply to the deer, the gazelle, the mouse- 
deer, the armadillo, and the iquana, all of which they 
freely kill for food. Rats also are killed, as they are 
great pests. It would seem that physical requirements 
are stronger than rehgious theory. 

This is the merest outline of the practice of interpreting 
omens among the Dyaks, but it will give some idea of the 
tediousness of the process. And the intricacies of the 
subject are great. The different combinations of these 
voices of Nature are endless, and it is difficult to know 
in each special case whether the spirits intend to foretell 
good or bad fortune. It is not an unusual thing to see 
old men, industrious and sensible in ordinary matters of 
hfe, sitting down for hours discussing the probable effect 
on their destiny of some special combination of omens. 

The full Byak explanation of the origin of this system 
of Ustening to the cries of certain birds is contained in 
the " Story of Siu " (see p. 278). 

Another story teUs how some Dyaks in the Batang 


Lupar made a great feast, and invited many guests. 
When everything was ready, and the arrival of the guests 
expected, the sound of a great company of people was 
heard near the village. The hosts, thinking they were 
the invited friends, went to meet them, but to their sur- 
prise found they were all utter strangers. However, they 
received them with due honour, and entertained them in 
a manner suitable to the occasion. When the time of 
departure came, they asked the strange visitors who they 
were, and from whence they came. Their Chief replied : 
" I am Singalang Burong, and these are my sons-in-law 
and their friends. When you hear the voices of the fol- 
lowing birds [giving their names] you must pay heed to 
them. They are our deputies in this lower world." 
And then the Dyaks understood that they had been en- 
tertaining guests from the Spirit World, who rewarded 
their hospitality by giving them the guidance of the 
omen system. 

A favourite way of auguring good or evil among the 
Dyaks is the old classical method of examining the 
entrails of some animal offered in sacrifice. A pig is 
killed, and the heart and liver taken out and placed upon 
leaves. These organs are handed round to the old men 
present, who closely examine them, and pronounce them 
to augur either good or evil. This method of augury is 
often resorted to when the interpretation ot the cries of 
birds is doubtful. 

A study of the subject of omens and augury shows the 
need the Dyak feels, in common with all mankind, of 
some guidance from higher and unseen powers. What 
is the principle which underlies this system of omens ? 
There is no doubt a morbid anxiety to know the secrets 
of the future. But that is not all. Surely in addition to 

A Dyak Youth Holding a Spear 

He is wearing the usual waislclolh and has also a sleeveless war-jacket made of skin 
covered with hair. 


this there is the hidden conviction that the gods have 
some way of revealing their wishes to mankind, and that 
obedience to the will of the higher powers is the only way 
to insure success and happiness. 

The Dyaks place impUcit confidence in dreams. Their 
theory is that during sleep the soul can hear, see, and 
understand, and so what is dreamt is really what the 
soul sees. When anyone dreams of a distant land, they 
beUeve that his soul has paid a flying visit to that land. 
They interpret their dreams literally. The appearance 
of deceased relatives in dreams is to the Dyaks a proof 
that the souls live in Sabayan, and as in the dreams they 
seem to wear the same dress and to be engaged in the 
same occupations as when they Hved in this world, it is 
difficult to persuade the Dyaks that the Hfe in the other 
world can be different from that in this. 

In dreams, also, the gods and spirits are supposed to 
bring charms to human beings. The story is often told 
of how a man falls asleep, and dreams that a spirit came 
to him and gave certain charms, and lo ! when he awakes, 
he finds them in his hands. Or else he is told in his 
dream to go to a certain spot at a certain time, and take 
some stone which will have some mysterious influence 
for good over his fortunes. Very often these magic 
charms, or pengaroh, as they are called by the Dyaks, 
are nothing more than ordinary black pebbles, but the 
possession of them is supposed to endow the owner with 
exceptional powers. 

No doubt Dyaks often concoct dreams out of their 
waking thoughts to suit their own interests, and many a 
man falsely declares he has received the gift of a charm 
from some spirit in order to appear of importance before 




To conclude, dreams are looked upon by the Dyaks as 
the means the gods and spirits use to convey their com- 
mands or to warn men of coming danger. Houses are 
often deserted, and farming land on which much labour 
has been spent abandoned, on account of dreams. Newly- 
married couples often separate from the same cause. It 
is no unusual thing for a man or a woman to dream that 
the spirits are hungry and need food. In that case the 
inmates of the Dyak house organize a feast, and offerings 
are made to the hungry spirits. 

Sometimes dreams are made an excuse for evil deeds. 
A woman who had been guilty of adultery said she was 
only carrying out the command of the gods conveyed to 
her in a dream, and that if she disobeyed she would 
probably become mad ! 



Manangs supposed to possess mysterious powers over evil spirits — 
Dyak theory of disease — Treatment of disease — Lwpong, or box 
of charms — Batu Ilau — Manang performances — Pagar Api — 
Catching the soul — Sixteen different manang ceremonies — Killing 
the demon Buyu — Saut — Salampandai — Deceit of manangs — 
Story of a schoolboy — Smallpox and cholera — Three ceremonies of 
initiation — Different ranks of manangs. 

AMONG the lower races of mankind there is always 
to be found the witch-doctor, who claims to have 
mysterious powers, and to be able to hold com- 
munication with the spirit- world. Where there is 
ignorance as to the cause of disease, and the effects that 
different medicines have on the human body, magical 
ceremonies and pretensions to supernatural powers are 
allowed full sway. Fear and anxiety in cases of illness 
make men eager to believe in any suggested remedy, 
however absurd it may be. The Dyaks are no excep- 
tion to the rule. They have their manangs, or witch- 

The peculiar attribute of the manang is the possession 
of mysterious powers over the spirits, rather than any 
special knowledge of medicines. There is often some 
small idea of the use of certain simple herbal remedies, 
but it is not on this knowledge that his importance 
depends. The great function of the manang is to defeat 



and drive away the malignant spirits which cause sickness 
and death. All maladies are supposed to be inflicted by 
the passing or the touch of demons, who are enemies to 
mankind. The Dyak description of most diseases is 
pansa utai, literally " something passed him." A spirit 
passed him and struck him. In accordance with this idea 
of disease, the only person who can cure the sick man 
is the one who can cope with the unseen evil spirit. The 
manang claims to be able to do this. He can charm or 
persuade or kUl the evU spirit and rescue the departing 
soul from his cruel clutches. When called in to attend 
a patient, he, in company with other medicine-men, goes 
through a performance called Pelian. There are different 
varieties of this ceremony, according to the disease and 
the amount of the fees paid. 

Manangs are generally called to their profession by a 
revelation made to them in dreams by some spirit. Each 
manang, therefore, claims to have a familiar spirit, whom 
he can call to his aid when necessary. When a person 
receives a call from the spirit, he bids adieu for a whUe 
to his relatives, abandons his former occupations, and 
attaches himself to some other experienced manang, who, 
for a consideration, will take him in hand and instruct 
him in the incantations, a knowledge of which is necessary 
for his calling. 

The manang looks upon a sick person as in the power 
of an evU spirit. As long as that spirit remains in posses- 
sion, the patient cannot recover. He bids it depart. If 
it be obstinate and will not go, he summons his own 
familiar spirit to his aid. If the evil spirit still refuse to 
go, then the 7nanang admits his inability to deal with 
the case alone, and several other vianangs are called to 
his aid. 


Whether the patient live or die, the manang is rewarded 
for his trouble. He makes sure of this before he under- 
takes a case, as he is put to considerable inconvenience 
by being fetched away from his own home and his own 
work. He takes up his abode with the patient, and has 
his meals with the family, and in other ways makes himself 
at home. If a cure be effected, he receives a present in 
addition to his regular fee. Herbal remedies are often 
administered internally or applied outwardly by him, but, 
in addition to these, spells are muttered and incantations 
made to exorcize the evil spirit that is tormenting the 

Every manang consults his familiar spirit as to what is 
best to be done for the case. When a person complains 
of pain in his body, the familiar is said to suggest that 
some mischievous spirit has put somethmg into him to 
cause the pain. The manang will then manipulate the 
part, and pretend to draw something out — a small piece 
of wood or a stone, or whatever it may chance to be — and 
exhibit it as the cause of the pain in the body. This he has 
by his magical power been able to remove from the body 
without even leaving a mark on the skin ! 

The 7na7hang always possesses a lupong, or medicine- 
box (see p. 184), generally made of the bark of a tree, and 
this is filled with charms consisting of scraps of wood or 
bark, curiously twisted roots, pebbles, and fragments of 
quartz. These medicinal charms are either inherited, or 
have been revealed by the spirits in dreams to their 
owners. One important and necessary charm is the 
Batu Ilau, ("stone of light") — a bit of quartz cr3^stal 
which every m,anang possesses. 

The 7nanang never carries his own box of charms ; the 
people who fetch him must carry it for him. He arrives 


at the house of the sick man generally at sunset, for he 
never performs in daylight, unless the case is very serious 
and he is paid extra for doing so. It is difficult and 
dangerous work, he says, to have any dealings with the 
spirits in the daytime. Sitting down by the patient, 
after some inquiries, ho produces out of his medicine-box 
a boar's tusk or pebble, or some other charm, and gently 
strokes the body with it. If there be several medicine- 
men called in, the leader undertakes the preliminary 
examination, tlie rest giving their assent. 

The manang now produces his Batu Ilau (" stone of 
light "), and gravely looks into it to diagnose the charac- 
ter of the disease, and to see where the soul is, and to 
discover what is the proper ceremony necessary for the 
case in question. Where there is serious illness the witch- 
doctor affirms that the spirit of the afflicted person has 
already left the body and is on its way to the next 
world, but that ho may be able to overtake it and bring 
it back, and restore it to the [jerson to whom it belongs. 
He pretends to converse with the spirit that troubles the 
sick man, repeating aloud the answers that the spirit is 
supposed to make. 

There are many different ceremonies resorted to in 
cases of illness, but the following is what is common to all 
manang performances. 

In the public hall of the Dyak house a long-handled 
spear is fixed blade upwards, with a few leaves tied round 
it, and at its foot are placed the medicine-boxes of all the 
witch-doctors who take part in the ceremony. This is 
called the Pagar Api ("fence of fire "). Why it is called 
by this curious name is not clear. The nuitiaags all squat 
on the floor, and the leader begms a long monotonous 
drawl, the rest either singing hi concert or joining in the 


choruses or singing antiphoually with him. After a 
tiresome period of this dull drawling, they stand up and 
march with slow and solemn step in single file round the 
Pagar A pi. The monotonous chant sometimes slackens, 
sometimes quickens, as they march round and round the 
whole niglit through, with only one interval for food m the 
middle of the night. The patient simply lies on his mat 
and listens. 

Most of what is chanted is unmtelligible, and consists of 
meanmgless sounds, it bemg supposed that what is not 
understood by man is mtolligible to the sphits. But 
some parts of it, though expressed in very prolix and 
ornate language, can be understood by the careful 

The witch-doctors call upon the sickness to be off to 
the ends of the earth, and return to the unseen regions 
from whence it came. They invoke the aid of spirits and 
of ancient worthies and unworthies down to then* own imme- 
diate ancestors, and spm the mvocation out to a sufficient 
length to last till early mornmg. Then comes the climax 
to which all this has been leadmg — the truant soul has 
to be caught and brought back again to the body of the 
sick man. 

If the patient be m a dangerous state they pretend his 
soul has escaped far away. Perhaps they give out that 
it has escaped to the river, and they will wave about a 
garment or a piece of woven cloth to imitate the action 
of throwmg a castuig net to enclose it as a fish is caught. 
Or else they say that it has escaped into the jungle, and 
they wUl rush out of the house to secure it there. Or 
perhaps they say that it has been carried over the sea 
to unknown lands, and they all sit down and imitate 
the action of paddlmg a boat to follow it. But this is 


only done in special cases, and I have often been told 
by Dj^aks who have been present at a particular matmng 
performance : " The man was very ill indeed. His 
samengat (soul) had gone so far away that the manangs 
had great difficulty in findmg it. They paddled over the 
sea, they threw a net into the water, and did many 
other things before they ultimately succeeded in catch- 
ing it." 

Generally the next thing they do is to move faster and 
faster, till they rush round the Pagar Api as hard as 
they can, stni singing their incantation. One of their 
number suddenly falls to the floor and remains motionless. 
The others sit down round him. The motionless manang 
is covered over with a blanket, and all wait while his spirit 
is supposed to hurry away to the other world to find 
the wandering soul and bring it back. Presently he 
revives, and looks vacantly round like a man just waking 
out of sleep. Then he raises his right hand, clenched as 
if holdmg something. That hand contains the soul, and 
he proceeds to the patient and solemnly returns it to the 
body of the sick man through the crown of his head, 
muttering at the same time more words of incantation. 
This " catching of the soul " {nangkap samengat) is the 
great end to which all that has preceded leads up. One 
function remains to complete the cure. A live fowl must 
be waved over the jDatient, and as he does so, the leader 
smgs a special invocation of great length. The animal is 
afterwards killed as an offering to the spirits, and eaten by 
the manangs. 

I have given a general account of all Pelian or manang 
performances. There are different kinds of ceremonies, 
according to the advice of the manang or the fee the 
patient is prepared to pay. In the following list are the 


names of the principal Pelian. If a patient fail to recover 
after one kind of ceremony, the manangs often recom- 
mend another and more expensive one. 

1. Betepas (" sweeping ") : At the time of the birth of 
each individual, a plant is supposed to grow up in the 
other world. If this plant continues to grow well, then 
the man enjoys good and robust health ; if it droops, the 
man's health suffers. When a man, therefore, has bad 
dreams or feels slightly unwell for a few days, his plant 
in Hades is said to be in a bad condition, and the manang 
is called to weed and sweep around it, and by doing so 
improve the condition of the plant, and consequently 
the health of the man. This is the first and cheapest 
function of the manang. In this he does not " catch the 
soul," as is done in the other ceremonies. All he does 
is to mutter some incantation and wave a fowl over the 

2. Berenchah ("making an assault"): The door be- 
tween the private room and the public veranda is thrown 
open, and the manangs march backwards and forwards 
between room and veranda. Each manang carries two 
swords, one in each hand, and he beats these against each 
other, and they rush at the patient as if to attack him. 
This is supposed to be making an assault against the evil 
spirits and scattering them on all sides. 

3. Berua ("swinging") : A swing is hung up outside 
the door of the sick person's room. The manang sits 
in this swing, with the double object of catching the 
man's soul, i£ it leave his body, and also of frighten- 
ing any evil spirit that may come near to hurt the 

4. Betanam pentik (" planting a pentik ") : A pentik 
is a roughly carved wooden representation of a man. 


The manang rushes through the house three times with 
this figure, and then plants it in the ground at the foot 
of the ladder of the house, and near it is put a winnowing- 
basket, a cooking-pot, and the piece of wood used in 
weaving to press the threads together. The figure is 
planted in the ground in the evening. If it remain till 
the morning in an upright position, recovery is certain ; 
but if it be inclined either to the right or left, it is an omen 
of death. 

5. Bepancha (" making a pancha ") : A pancha is a 
swing erected on the tanju, or open-air platform, of the 
house. In this swing the manang sits, and by the move- 
ment of his feet " kicks away " the disease. While seated 
in this swing he " catches the soul " of the patient. 

6. Ngelemhayan {" taking a long sight ") : A number 
of planks are laid about in the public veranda, and the 
manning 8 walk upon them, chanting their incantations. 
Then one of their number pretends to swoon, and is 
supposed to sail over rivers and seas to find the soul and 
bring it back. 

7. Bebayak ("making a hayak, or iguana"): Some 
cooked rice is moulded into the shape of an iguana, 
and is covered over with cloths. This figure is supposed 
to eat up the evil spirits which cause the disease. 

8. Nemuai- Ka Sabayan ("making a journey to 
Hades ") : The manangs, with hats on their heads, march 
up and down the house singing their incantations. While 
their bodies are doing this, their souls are supposed to 
speed away to Hades and bring back all manner of 
medicinal charms and talismans, as well as the wandering 
soul of the sick man . 

9. Betiang garong (" making a post for departed 
souls "j : A piece of bamboo is hung up to the roof -ridge. 


and an offering is put on the ridge. A swing is erected 
up there for the manang, and he makes his incantations 
and " catches the soul." 

10. Begiling lantai (" rolled up in the flooring ") : In 
this ceremony, when the manang feigns to swoon, his 
body is rolled up in part of the flooring, and certain 
miniature articles are put by his side, just as a dead 
man's possessions are put by his bod}^ and the manang 
is taken out of the house as if to be buried. 

11. Beburong raia ("making or acting the adjutant 
bird ") : The manang s walk up and down the house 
seven times, imitating the actions of the adjutant bird. 
The}^ are covered with native sheets, put over their 
bodies like cloaks, and they pretend to personate the bird. 

12. Behaju hesi (" wearing an iron coat ") : Each 
manang fastens two choppers on his back and two in 
front, and carries one m each hand. Thus equipped, 
they walk round and " catch the soul." 

13. Beba7idong Api ("displaying fire"): The patient 
is laid out in the public part of the house, and several 
small fires are made round him. The manang s pretend 
to dissect his body, and fan the flames towards him to 
drive away the sickness. 

14. Betiti tendai (" walking on the fendai ") : The 
tendai is the bar on which cotton is placed when being 
spun. This bar is oiled and placed in the middle of the 
pubHc veranda, and the manang, armed with a chopper 
in each hand, walks on it in order to " catch the soul " 
of the patient. 

15. Beremaung (" acting the tiger ") : In the middle 
of each family's portion of the pubUc veranda is placed a 
wooden mortar, and the manang prowls round them to 
" catch the soul " of the patient. 


16. Betukup rarong (" to split open the coffin ") : A 
manang is put in a coffin, and by his side are put miniature 
articles, supposed to represent the utensils used in daily 
life. The other manang s walk round, and attempt to 
" catch the soul " of the sick man. When they have 
succeeded in doing this, the coffin is spUt open and the 
manang gets out. 

These are the different kinds of manang ceremonies 
known, but only the first four are in common use. The 
others are rarely resorted to nowadays. 

In addition to these must be mentioned the Munoh 
Antu, or Bepantap Buyu (" kilhng the demon," or 
" wounding Buyu "). Buyu is the name of the evil 
spirit who brings many diseases and causes miscarriage 
in women. When there is some unusual or obstinate 
disease, or when a woman has had miscarriage, the 
manangs declare that Buyu is the cause of the trouble, 
and must be killed. A large number of witch-doctors 
are called together, and the feat is performed in this way : 
The patient is taken out of the room, and laid on the 
common veranda, and covered with a net. In the room 
is placed an offering of food, and the manangs walk in 
procession up and down the whole length of the house, 
chanting their incantations, and inviting the evil spirit 
to come to his victim, and also to partake of the sump- 
tuous repast that is prepared for him. This occupies 
some time, for the spirit may be far away, on a journey, 
or fishing, or hunting. AU Ughts are extinguished, and 
in the darkness the manangs walk up and down the public 
hall of the Dyak house. At intervals one of them peeps 
in at the door to see if the spirit has arrived. In due 
time the demon comes, and then the manangs themselves 
enter the darkened room. Presently sounds of scuffling, 


of clashing of weapons, and of shouting are heard by the 
Dyaks outside. Soon after the door is thrown open, and 
the demon said to be dead. He was cheated into coming 
to torment his prey, and instead of a weak and helpless 
victim he met the crafty and mighty manangs, who have 
done what ordinary mortals cannot do — attacked and 
killed him. As a proof of the reality of the deed lights 
are brought in, and the manangs point to spots of blood 
on the floor, and occasionally to the corpse itself in the 
shape of a dead monkey or snake, which they say was 
the form the spirit took for the occasion. The trick is a 
very simple one. Some time in the day the manangs 
procure blood from a fowl or some other animal, or it 
may be from their own bodies, mix it with water in a 
bamboo to prevent congealing, smuggle it into the room, 
and scatter it on the floor in the dark. This can safely 
be done, as no one but the manangs themselves are in 
the room. Neither lights nor outsiders are admitted, on 
the plea that under such circumstances the demon could 
not be enticed to enter. The trick has often been detected 
and the performers openly accused of imposture ; 
consequently, it is not now practised so often as in 
former times. When this victory over the spirit is won, 
the Pelian goes on in the usual way till the morning 

In addition to these Pelian, there is another manarig 
ceremony which is often performed, and known by the 
name of Saut. A feast is always given in the house where 
this ceremony takes place, so it is the occasii-n of the 
gathering of friends from many different Dyak houses. 
The reasons for having this ceremony are various. If 
they have had a series of bad harvests, or if one or more 
people in the house are ill, or if they wish the future of 


one child or many to be bright and prosperous, then the 
manangs are called in to perform the Saut. 

The principal god or deity invoked in this ceremony is 
Selampandai, the god who fashions mankind out of clay 
by hammering them out on an anvil. As in other per- 
formances of the manangs, there is a Pagar Ajyi put up in 
the open veranda. The ceremony begins at dusk, when 
three offerings of food are made. The first is to the gods 
of the women, and this is thrown out of the window of 
the room to the ground ; the second offering is made to 
the gods of the men, and is thrown out to the ground 
from the unroofed veranda in front of the house ; the 
third offering is to Selampandai, and this is put in the 
loft over the Pagar A pi. 

Areca-nut blossoms are placed ready for use on a little 
shelf, and three plates of rice are put near them as offer- 
ings to the spirits. A large valuable jar {tajau) filled with 
native spirit {tuaJc) is placed in the public veranda of the 
house. If there be a sick man to be cured, he sits on a 
brass gong (chanang) by the Pagar Api. The manangs 
march up and down singing their incantations. After 
doing this for some time, each of them takes a bunch of 
areca-blossom in his hands, and they strike each other 
with these until the blossoms are broken and strew the 
ground. Then the manangs walk slowly round the jar, 
bowing to it at each step. After this they join hands, 
and rush round the jar as fast as they can go, until they 
are quite exhausted. 

During this the guests who have been invited to the 
feast are seated about eating and drinking, or chatting to 
each other. Later on in the evening, when the manangs 
have completed their ceremony, the tuak in the jar is 
handed round in cups for the guests to drink. As usual 


at feasts, when a cup of spirit is given to a man, he drinks 
the contents and keeps the cup, and it is no unusual thing 
to see a man returning from a feast with twenty or thirty 
cups in his possession. 

There is a good deal of deceit and humbug and a little 
clumsy sleight-of-hand on the part of the manang, and 
an unlimited amount of faith on the part of the patient. 
The manang must be conscious of his own deceit, but he 
believes that his incantations do good, and I have often 
known cases of manangs having these ceremonies for 
members of their own family who are ill. But as a rule 
a manang is not a truthful man at all. He is not above 
telling any number of Hes to increase his importance. 
He always pretends to have had previous knowledge of 
what is going to happen, and often says, when he is called 
in to a case, that he knew some time previously that his 
patient would be ill and come to him for help. 

There can be no doubt that the average Dyak knows 
that there is a great deal of deceit connected with the 
manang^ s profession, but he also knows he must submit to 
that deceit if he wishes to have his help, and he beheves 
that in some way the incantations and remarkable actions 
of the manangs help to scare away the evil spirit which 
is the cause of the disease. 

I remember that one of my schoolboys was on a visit 
to his relatives in Saribas. His sister was ill, and his 
parents sent for the matiangs to cure her. The boy pro- 
tested. He said they were Christians, and ought not to 
make incantations to the spirits. But no notice was taken 
of what he said. The manang went through the usual 
farce of " catching the soul " and restoring it to the girl. 
The boy looked on, and when it was over said to him : 

" You are a fraud. You know you cannot ' catch the 


soul,' and you only pretend to do so, and get paid 
for it." 

The manang was no doubt disgusted at being thus 
reproved by a little boy, and replied : 

" I am able to catch the soul and restore it. I will 
catch your soul if you like." 

" Do so," said the boy. " I would like you very much 
to do it." 

The foohsh manarig pretended to faint ; then he woke 
up in the orthodox manner with one hand clenched, and 
when he opened it, lo and behold ! there was something 
there which he declared was the boy's soul. 

The boy sat and looked on while all this went on. 

" Here is your soul," the manang said, " which I have 
succeeded in catching after much trouble. Let me 
restore it to you, so that you may be in good health." 

" Call that my soul ?" said the boy. " I make a 
present of it to you. I do not want it. You can keep it. 
I have a soul which you cannot touch." 

The manang was puzzled. He had never known such 
a thing as anyone daring to refuse to have his own soul. 
He spoke to the parents, and said that something terrible 
would happen to the boy if he persisted in not having his 
soul returned to his body. The parents wished the boy 
to do what the manang desired, but he was determined, 
and did what all Dyak boys do when they are disobedient 
— ran oflP into the jungle, where he knew he would not 
easily be found. 

When this boy came back to my school, he told me all 
about it, and later on, when he and I went to his people, 
they spoke about it. As the boy was in very good health, 
they all had a laugh at the manang^s expense. If, 
however, anything had happened to the boy, no 


doubt the manang would have made much capital out 
of it. 

I have sometimes argued with a manang that if the 
soul has already left the body of the patient when he is 
called in, then the man ought to be dead. The answer 
to this is that a man has more than one soul. It is only 
when 0,11 his souls leave the body that the man dies. 
Some Dyaks assert that a man has three souls, and others 
seven. Their ideas on this matter do not agree. 

Though the manang is supposed to be able to defeat 
the evil spirits which cause disease, there are some 
diseases which are too terrible for even his mystical 
powers. The epidemic scourges of cholera and smallpox 
are said to be caused by the direct influence of evil spirits. 
Smallpox is said to be caused by the King of Evil Spirits, 
because it is such a terrible disease. The name by which 
it is known among the Dyaks is Sakit Rajah (the sick- 
ness of, or caused by, the Kang of Evil Spirits). But 
the manangs will not go near a case of either. Probably 
a consciousness of their own powerlessness, combined with 
a fear of infection, has made them assert that those 
diseases do not come within reach of their powers. Other 
means, such as propitiatory sacrifices and offerings, must 
be resorted to. 

To qualify a man to take part in this mixed system of 
symbohsm and deceit, a form of initiative ceremony is 
gone through by other witch-doctors, in the course of 
which he is supposed to learn the secrets of his mystic 
calling. The aspirant to the office of manang must first 
commit to memory a certain amount of Dyak traditional 
lore, to enable him to take part in the incantations in 
company with other witch-doctors. But in addition to 
this, before he can accomplish the more important parts, 



such as pretending to catch the soul of a sick man, he 
must be pubhcly initiated by one or more of the following 
ceremonies : 

1. The first is called Besudi, which means "feeling," 
or " touching." The aspirant sits m the veranda of the 
Byak house, and a number of witch-doctors walk round 
him singing incantations the whole night. The ceremony 
performed over him is the same as that done for a sick 
man (Pelian). This is supposed to endow him with the 
power to touch and feel the maladies of the body, and 
apply the requisite cure. It admits to the lowest grade, 
called manang mata (unripe manang), and is obtain- 
able for the lowest fees. 

2. If a manang v.ishes to attain a higher grade, he goes 
through a second ceremony, which is caUed Bekliti, or 
" opening." A whole night's incantation is again gone 
through by the other mana^igs, and in the early morning 
the great function of initiation is carried out. The witch- 
doctors lead the aspirant into an apartment curtained oflf 
from pubhc gaze by large sheets of native woven cloth. 
There they assert they cut his head open, and take out 
his brains and wash and restore them. This is to give 
him a clear mind to penetrate into the mysteries of 
disease and to circumvent the wiles of the unseen spirits. 
They insert gold-dust into his eyes to give him keenness 
and strength of sight, so that he may be able to see the 
soul wherever it may have wandered. They plant barbed 
hooks in the tips of his fmgers to enable him to seize the 
strugghng soul and hold it fast, and, lastly, they pierce 
his heart with an arro\\' to make him tender-hearted and 
fuU of sympathy with the sick and suffering. Needless 
to say, none of these things are done. A few symbohc 
actions representing them are all that are gone through. 


A cocoanut is placed on the head of the man and spht 
open instead of the head, and so on. After this second 
ceremony the man is a fully-qualified manang — a manang 
inansau (a ripe manang) — competent to practise all 
parts of his deceitful craft. 

3. There is, however, a third and highest grade, which 
is attainable only by ambitious candidates who are rich 
enough to make the necessary outlay. They may become 
manang bangun, 'manang enjun {manangs waved upon, 
inanangs trampled upon). As in other cases, this in- 
volves a whole night's ceremony, in which many of the 
older witch-doctors take part. They begin by walking 
round and round the aspirant to this high honour, and 
wave over him bunches of betel-nut blossom. This is 
the hangu7i (the waving upon). Then in the middle 
of the veranda a large jar is placed having a short ladder 
fastened on each side and connected at the top. At 
various intervals during the night the manangs, leading 
the new candidate, march him up one ladder and down 
the other, but what this is supposed to symboUze is not 
clear. As a finish to this play at mysteries, the man 
lays himself flat on the floor and the others walk over 
him and trample upon him. In some mysterious way 
this action is supposed to impart to him the supernatural 
power they themselves possess. This is the enjun, 
the " trampling upon." The fees necessary to obtain 
this highest grade among witch-doctors are high, and 
therefore few are able to afford it. One who has been 
through this ceremony wiU often be heard to boast that 
he is no ordinary spirit-controller or soul-catcher, but 
something far superior — a manang bangmi, manang 

There is a yet higher grade which some matiangs attain 


to — that is, when he becomes a 7nanang hali. Bali 
means " changed," and a 'manang hali is one who is 
supposed to have changed his sex, and become a woman. 

Sometimes a male manang assumes female attire. He 
does this, it is said, because he has had a supernatural 
command conveyed to him in dreams on three separate 
occasions. To disregard such a command would mean 
death. He prepares a feast, and sacrifices a pig or two 
to avert evil consequences to the tribe, and then assumes 
female costume. Thenceforth he is treated hke a woman, 
and occupies himself in female pursuits. His chief aim 
in hfe is to copy female manners and habits as accurately 
as possible. 

A manang hali is paid much higher fees than an 
ordinary manang, and is often called in when others have 
been unable to effect a cure. I do not think there is ever 
a case of a young man becoming a manang bali. Gener- 
ally it is an old and childless man who uses this means of 
earning a livehhood. 

The only occasion on which I have met a manang hali 
was in the upper part of the Krian River. He seemed a 
poor sort of creature, and appeared to me to be looked 
down upon by the Dyaks, though they were glad enough 
to ask his help in cases of illness. He had a " husband," 
a lazy good-for-nothing, who lived on the earnings of the 
manang bali. 

Women as well as men may become manangs, though 
it is not usual to meet many such nowadays. I have 
only come across one woman manang, and that was at 
Temudok, though I have heard of several others in 
different parts of the country. 

The fact that the manang claims to be able to hold 
communion with the spirit -world would lead one to 


suppose that he is the priest of the Dyak system of wor- 
ship. But in practice the manang is more a doctor than 
a priest. His aid is always called in case of illness, but 
not necessarily at the great religious functions of the 
Dyaks — the sacrifice of propitiation to Pulang Gana, the 
god of the earth, or the sacrificial feast to Singalang 
Burong, the god of war. Generally, other Dyaks are the 
officiating ministers on these occasions, the only re- 
quisite qualification being the abihty to chant the invo- 
cation and incantations which accompany the offering 
and ceremonies. Also at marriages or at burials the 
manang is not the officiant, but some old man of standing, 
who has a reputation for being fortunate in his under- 
takings. A manang may be the officiant, not by virtue 
of his office, but for other reasons. 



Native remedies — Cupping — Charms — A Dyak medicine- chest — 
Smallpox and cholera — My experience at Temudok. 

AS has already been shown in the precedmg chapter, 
the Dyak looks to the inanang, or witch-doctor, 
to help him in all cases of illness, AU sickness is 
caused by some evil spirit, and the manang alone has 
power over these unseen enemies, and he uses incantations 
to appease or frighten these demons away. 

But though in all cases of serious illness the manang 
is called in, yet the treatment of every disease is not 
left in his hands. Dyaks use some things as outward 
applications, and certain herbal remedies are given 
internally in the case of illness, I have seen Dyaks 
boil some bitter bark in water and drink this liquid 
when they have fever. Certain oils are also used 
as liniments. The betel-nut and pepper-leaf [sireh) 
mixture is used as an outward application for many 
complaints. Some man — generally one who is successful 
in what he undertakes — ^is asked to chew some of this 
hot mixture in his mouth. Having done this, he leans 
over and squirts the red saliva over the affected part, and 
rubs it in with his fingers, Dyaks with a headache wUl be 
seen with their foreheads smeared over with it. Newly- 



born babes have their stomachs and chests covered with 
daily applications of the same thing b}^ their mothers. 

Ground ginger is also used as a poultice, especially in 
the case of women who have given birth to a child ; and 
the water in which pieces of ginger have been boiled is 
drunk by people suffering from ague, as well as by lymg-in 

The Dyaks are very fond of blood-letting whenever 
there is pain in any part of the body or limb, and they 
have a method of " cupping " which is rather ingenious. 
The part from which the blood is to be drawn has in- 
cisions made in it with a small knife. The " cupping- 
glass " is a young wet bamboo which has a knot at one 
end, but is open at the other. This is heated at the fire, 
and then placed firmly over the incisions made in the 
flesh. Cold water is then poured on the bamboo, and it 
draws out the blood. The heat fills the bamboo with 
steam from its dampness. The cold water condenses 
this steam, and makes the bamboo an excellent " cupping- 

As the Dyak believes that all sickness is caused by the 
spirits, it is not surprising that his faith in medicines is 
small, and that he knows of few remedies, and depends 
for his cures either on the mysterious ceremonies of the 
witch-doctors or on charms which have been made 
known by the spirits to the fortunate owners by means 
of dreams. These charms are generally pebbles, roots, 
leaves, feathers, or bits of wood. The pebbles and roots 
are rubbed on the body, or else put in water and the 
water applied. The leaves, bits of wood, feathers, 
etc., are burnt, and the ashes rubbed on the affected 

Though the manang depends upon his power over 


spirits to cure diseases, still he calls to his aid his numer- 
ous charms, which he claims to have received from the 
spirits. These valued treasures are carried in his lupong, 
or medicine-chest. 

The following excellent description of " The Contents 
of a Dyak Mediciae-chest," by Bishop Hose, under whom 
I worked for many years as a missionary to the Dyaks, 
is reproduced here by his kmd permission. The place and 
the people mentioned in it are all well known to me, as 
the village of Kundong is in the Saribas District, which 
was in my charge for many years : — 

" A few days ago I was in the upper part of the Saribas 
River, the home of the race once celebrated throughout 
Malaya for daring deeds of piracy. My companion was 
the Rev. WUliam Howell, the joint author with Mr. D. 
J. S. BaUey of " A Dictionary of the Sea Dyak Language," 
and an authority on all subjects connected with the 
religious and other customs of that people. We had 
ascended the Padih, an affluent of the main river, to the 
village of Kundong, where we were going to spend the 
night in the Dysuk house of which Brok is the tuai, or 
headman. The house is of moderate length — about 
twenty doors — and as usual the apartments of the tuai 
are near the middle of the building. There we were 
hospitably installed on the ruai, or undivided hall (some- 
times described as a veranda), which extends throughout 
the whole length of a Sea Dyak house and occupies 
about half of its area. The good mats were brought down 
from the sadau, or loft, and spread for us — the rare luxury 
of a chair was provided for me — and there we talked, 
and taught, and answered questions, and dispensed 
medicines, while the inhabitants of the other- rooms 
gathered round us, as well as the occupants of our host's 


private quarters. There also we ate, and there we slept 
when the kindly people would at last consent to our going 
to bed. 

"The majority of the 'rooms' — i.e., separate tene- 
ments — in this house are inhabited by Christians of long 
standing, but there are a few who have not yet come in. 
Amongst them is a manang, or doctor of magic, named 
Dasu, who has a large practice in the neighbourhood. 
I was anxious to interview him in order to get some in- 
formation that I wanted for the purpose of comparing 
the original spiritual beliefs of the Borneans with those 
that underlie the Mohammedanism of the Malays of the 
Peninsula. I was also desirous of ascertaining how far 
the methods of the Dyak manang, when undertaking to 
cure diseases, resembled those of the pawang and bomor, 
his Malay confreres. 

" At our invitation Dr. Dasu came out of his room 
readily enough, and sat down with us to chat and smoke 
a cigarette. He talked freely and intelligently about 
such matters of general interest as happened to be broached, 
especially the late expedition against the turbulent people 
of the Ulu Ai, and the terrible epidemic of cholera which 
was just passing away. But as soon as we began to give 
the conversation a professional turn, and speak of the 
practice of medicine by the native doctors of the Saribas, 
he put on a look of impenetrable reserve, and could 
hardly be persuaded to speak at all. There is reason to 
believe that this was chiefly owing to the presence of 
Mr. Howell. He has succeeded in winning the confidence 
and affectionate regard of Dyaks to an unusual degree, 
but he is unpopular among the man^an^s. His teaching 
has led people to think for themselves, and wherever he 
goes the business and the gains of the village doctor show 


a tendency to decrease. Moreover, several of the fraternity 
have submitted to his influence, abandoned their tricks, 
and taken to honest farming. It is known, too, that 
some of these have surrendered their whole stock of 
charms to my friend, and have also made dangerous 
revelations, whereby the profession has been much dis- 

" So Dr. Dasu was only with great difficulty induced 
to impart to us his Imowledge. He told me, after more 
confidential relations had grown up between us, that he 
suspected me of an intention, by some means or other, to 
get possession of his precious materia medica, and so 
deprive him of his means of living. However, his fears 
were removed by repeated assurances that it was infor- 
mation only that I wanted, and that I was consulting him 
just because I preferred to get it direct from a professor 
of repute rather than trust to reports received from 
white men. At length we persuaded him to be gently 
catechized. I got some precise answers to my questions 
respecting certain articles of Dyak belief which had been 
variously defined by different investigators, and about 
which my ideas had been a good deal confused. But those 
matters are not the subject of this note. It is the conclud- 
ing incident of the rather prolonged interview that I 
propose to describe. 

" We had talked to one another so pleasantly and frankly 
that I thought I might ask Dasu as a great favour to 
show me his lupong, or medicine-chest, and the charms 
of power which it contained. It was quite evident that 
this aroused his suspicions again, and he retired within 
himself as before. But the principal people of the house, 
who were sitting by us, urged him to consent, and, as old 
acquaintances of mine, assured him of my good faith. So 


he was at last persuaded, and went to his own room to 
fetch the treasure. 

" As I have said, the good mats of the household, as is 
usual when it is intended to show respect to a visitor, had 
been taken down for our accommodation from the place 
where they are stored. But we now saw that the most 
valued of them all had been held in reserve. This, which 
was made of fine and very flexible rotan, the latest 
triumph of the skill and industry of our courteous hostess, 
Ipah, Brok's wife, was now handed down and spread in 
front of us for the reception of the great man and the 
mysterious implements of his profession. After some con- 
siderable delay, probably intended to excite our curiosity 
the more, he appeared, and sat down on the mat pre- 
pared for him, a subdued murmur of applause and 
satisfaction greeting him as he took his seat. 

" A maimng's lupong, or case for holding his charms, 
may be almost anything. Sometimes it is a box, some- 
times a basket, sometimes a bag. In this instance it was 
an open-mouthed basket made of thin shavings of bamboo 
hung round the neck of the owner by a strip of bark. 

" Before beginning the exhibition, Dasu made a little 
formal speech, in which, with much show of humility, he 
spoke in depreciation of his own powers and knowledge 
and of his collection of remedial charms, as compared with 
those of other members of the profession elsewhere. 
These remarks were of course received with complimentary 
expressions of dissent from the audience ; and then at last 
the contents of the basket were displayed before us. 
They were tied up together in a cloth bag, the most 
highly -prized being further enclosed in special receptacles of 
their own, such as a second cloth covering, a little bamboo 
box with a lid, or a match-box. They were ceremoni- 


ously brought out, and placed side by side on the mat 
of honour. I was then invited to handle and examine 
them, and the name and use of each were told me without 
any fresh indication of unwillingness. This is a list of 
them : 

"1. Batu binfung, or star-stone. A small, transparent 
stone rounded by the action of water till it was almost 
spherical, with a rather rough surface. The manang 
looked upon it as his badge of authority, and told the 
following story of the way he became possessed of it. 
Many years ago, in the interval between harvest and the 
next seed-time, he was working as a cooly in Upper 
Sarawak. There he had a dream in which he was visited 
by the being whom he looked upon as his guardian spirit. 
As in all cases when this spirit has had any communica- 
tion to make to him, it appeared in the form of a tortoise. 
It told him that he must forthwith put himself under 
instruction in order to be qualified for the office 
of a manang ; and that if he neglected this command all 
the spirits would be angry, and death or madness would 
be the penalty. When he awoke he found the batii 
bintang by his side, and had no doubt it was the gift of 
the spirit. Accordingly, he did as he was bidden without 
loss of time. He acquired the professional knowledge 
and the stock-in-trade which were necessary, and was 
at last duly initiated with all the proper rites and cere- 

"2. Batu Jcraf ikan sembilan, or the petrified section of 
the Sembilan fish. This was a curious object which I could 
not quite make out. It was oblong in shape, about two 
inches long, one inch broad, and half an inch thick in the 
middle, but getting suddenly thinner towards the two 
edges till it became not more than one-sixteenth of an inch. 


The thick part was hollow, having a large, oval-shaped 
perforation going through it. It resembled a section from 
the middle of a large winged seed, but heavy for its size, 
and feeling like a stone. I could not of course test this by 
cutting or scraping. When used it is soaked for a time 
in water ; the water is then given to the sick man to 
drink, or is rubbed gently upon the part of his body which 
is affected. 

" 3. Batu lintar, or thunderbolt. A small, dark- 
coloured stone, about an inch and a half long and a quarter 
of an inch thick at the base, tapering to a sixteenth of an inch 
at the point, curved, and rather like a very small rhino- 
ceros horn, and highly polished. It was probably the same 
kind of stone as that of which the stone implements found 
in the Malay Peninsula are made, which is also called 
batu lintar. It is pressed firmly against the body wherever 
pain is felt. 

" 4. Batu nitar, another name for thunderbolt. A 
minute, four-sided crystal, half an inch long and about 
two lines thick. A charm to be used only m extreme cases. 
It is dipped m water and then shaken over the patient. 
If he starts when the drops of water fall upon his body he 
will recover, otherwise he will die. 

" 5. Batu krang jiranau, or petrified root-stock of 
jiranau (a zingiberad ?). They told us this is the Dyak 
name of a kind of wild ginger. The word is curiously 
near to jerangau, or jeringu, which Ridley says is Acorus 
calamus, 'a plant much used by native medicine-men' 
(Wilkinson, ' Malay-EngUsh Dictionary '). The thing so 
called was possibly part of the backbone of some animal, 
bent double and the two ends tied together, each vertebra 
brown and shining after long use. A charm for dysentery 
and indigestion, and also for consumption. It is dipped 


in oil and rubbed on the patient's body in a downward 

" 6. Batii ilau, or sparkling stone, also called batu kras, 
or the hard stone. A six-sided crystal, two inches long 
and three-quarters of an inch thick. One end appeared 
to have been formerly stuck into some sort of handle, as 
it was covered with malan, or lac. This is the indis- 
pensable sight-stone to be looked into for a view of that 
which is future, or distant, or otherwise invisible to the 
ordinary eyes. It is specially used by matmngs for dis- 
covering where the soul of the sick man, wandering away 
from the body, is conceahng itself, or for detecting the 
particular demon who is causing the illness. 

" There were also, jumbled up together at the bottom 
of the bag, a number of tusks of wild boar, pebbles, and 
other rubbish, but these were pronounced to be utai 
ngajja — things of no importance. One article that we 
hoped to find was absent. Dasu said he should be glad 
indeed to have it, but it had never come in his way. It 
is the batu burung endan, or pehcan stone. He explained 
to us that this is a stone which has the magical power of 
securing the presence and co-operation of a spirit who 
dweUs in the form of the endan {Pelicanus nialaccensis). 
When the maTiang is seeking to enter Sabayan, the spirit- 
world, in search of the errant soul of a sick man, this 
demon can insure to him a swift and unimpeded passage 
thither and back again. 

" While Dasu was teUing us the story of his vision of 
the tortoise spirit who gave him the batu hintang, I 
watched his face carefully for any sign that he beheved 
or did not believe his account. I could not be sure, but 
I am inclined to think he did not. He seemed reUeved 
when we had finished our examination of his possessions, 


and he could pack them all up and carry them off to the 
security of his own dweUing. 

" Several similar collections of charms have at different 
times been given to me, obtained from manangs who have 
become Christians, but it was particularly interesting to 
me to have a set actually in use exhibited and explained 
by their owner." 

The Dyak medicine-man, either by means of medicines, 
or by the use of charms, or by his incantations, is sup- 
posed to be able to cure all diseases. But, as I have said, 
the two terrible epidemics of cholera and smallpox are 
beyond his powers. No witch-doctor will approach any 
case of these, however well he may be paid. 

So great is the fear of the Byaks for either of these 
diseases that, when a man falls ill of cholera, all his 
friends desert the house in which he is, and he is left to 
manage for himself. In the case of smallpox those who 
have already had the disease may stop and nurse their 
friends, but the others all leave the house and build for 
themselves shelters in the jungle. Very often people die 
of smallpox or cholera simply because they are too 
ill to cook food, and have no one to attend to their 

When there is smallpox or cholera in the country, the 
Dyaks plant by the path leading to the house a post 
with a cross-bar attached to it. This is to show others 
that they may not come up to the house. To disregard 
such a signpost is punishable according to Dyak law. 

When I was stationed at Temudok, very early one 
morning, I heard someone caUing out from the landing- 
stage by the river-bank. I got out of bed, and went to 
the veranda and shouted out to the man that he was 
to come to the house if he had anything to say to me. 


He came half-way up the hill, and then said that he was 
afraid to come any nearer. There were two men dead 
of smallpox in his boat, and many others ill. Some of 
the Byaks in the boat were Christians whom I knew, 
some were not. We had a conversation as to what it 
was best to do under the circumstances. The first thing 
was to bury the two dead bodies. I had many planks, 
as the carpenters were still at work at the Mission House, 
and two coffins were soon made, the dead bodies placed 
in them and buried. 

But what was to be done with those in the boat who 
were ill ? I could not have them at the Mission House , 
because the schoolboys hved there, and also one room 
was used for services which the Christian Dyaks in 
Temudok attended. I remembered there was a small 
Dyak house a little way up-river which had been deserted 
not long before, and I told the Dyaks to take the sick to 
that house, and I promised to supply them with food and 
anything else they might require. Three of the crew were 
well, but there were eight who had smallpox. 

I sent a message up-river to the friends and relatives of 
these men, and asked them to come themselves or send 
others to nurse them. I was very much disappointed to 
find that only two women came in reply to my request. 
The Dyaks are so afraid of smallpox that even those who 
had already had smallpox, and need not have feared infec- 
tion, were not allowed by those who lived with them to 
nurse a suffering relative. 

I shall never forget the first time I went to see these 
smallpox patients. They lay in a row in the open veranda 
of the Dyak house — a miserable sight. Plates of rice had 
been placed by them which they were not able to eat. 
I had the place swept and cleaned, and the food taken 


away. I took them some condensed milk and sugar, as 
well as other food. 

Two of their number died ; the others recovered. 
Before they returned to their homes they came to me. 
I had them disinfected, burnt up their clothes and mats, 
etc., and gave them each a piece of cloth for clothing. 
I am glad to say they did not take the infection to their 



Certain religious observances — Petara, or gods — Singalang Burong, 
the god of war— Pulang Gana, the god of the soil — Salampandai, 
the maker of men — Mali, or taboo — Spirits — Girgasi, the chief 
of evil spirits — The dogs of the spirits — Stories — Customs con- 
nected with the belief in spirits — Sacrifices — Firing and ginsdan 
— The victim of the sacrifice generally eaten, but not always — 
Material benefits expected by the Dyaks by their religious cere- 
monies — Nampok, a means of communicating with spirits — Batn 
hudi, " stones of wrath " — Belief in a future life — Conclusion. 

THE Dyaks have no special forms of worship, nor 
do they build temples in honour of their gods, 
and yet they certainly have a rehgion of their 
own. They beheve in certain gods and spirits, who are 
supposed to rule over different departments of hfe, and 
they have certain rehgious observances which may be 
classed as follows : 

1. The kiUing and eating of fowls and pigs offered in 
sacrifice, of which a portion is set aside for the gods. 

2. The propitiation of gods and spirits by offerings of 

3. The use of omens and augury. 

4. The singing of long incantations to the gods and 
spirits on certain occasions. 

The Dyaks have only one word, Petara, to denote the 
deity, and there is no Uterature to appeal to in order to 
explain this word. We have to depend upon what the 



Dyaks can tell us themselves, and also upon what we can 
gather from the different pengap — long incantations made 
on such semi-sacred occasions as the offering of sacrifices 
at feasts. These pengap are handed down from genera- 
tion to generation by word of mouth. Some Dyaks have 
good memories, and are able to learn and repeat them. 

The general idea is that there are many Petara, but the 
whole subject is one upon which Dyaks have very hazy 
ideas. They cannot give a connected and lucid account 
of their belief. They all admit, however, that the Petara 
are supernatural beings, who are invisible and have 
superior powers. 

But their conception of gods is a very low one, and this 
is not to be wondered at, because, as is well known, the 
grosser the nature of a people, the grosser will be their 
conception of a deity or of deities. We can hardly expect 
a high and spiritual conception of gods from Dyaks in 
their present intellectual condition. Their Petara are 
most human-hke beings. They are represented as de- 
lighting in a " feast of rice, and pork, and venison, cakes 
and drink," just as the Dyaks themselves do ; and yet 
they are the beings who can bestow the highest blessings 
the Dyaks can desire ! 

Although the conception of Petara is not an exalted 
one, yet he is a good being, and no evil is attributed to 
him. He is always on the side of justice and right. The 
ordeal of diving is an appeal to Petara to help the innocent 
and overthrow the guilty. He is supposed to be angry 
at acts of wickedness, and I have often heard a Dyak say 
that he dare not commit some particular crime, because 
he fears the displeasure and punishment of Petara. He 
may be able to hide his wickedness from the eyes of man, 
but not from the Petara. ^ 


There are a large number of gods mentioned by name 
in the Dyak incantations, but the following are the most 
important deities : 

Singalang Burong takes the highest position in honour 
and dignity, and is the ruler of the spirit- world. He 
stands at the head of the Byak pedigree, and they trace 
their descent from him, for he is believed to have once 
Uved on earth as a man. It is doubtful what the word 
Simjalang means, but Burong means " bird," and prob- 
ably Singalang Burong means " bird chief." The Dyaks 
are great observers of omens, as is noticed in Chapter XII., 
and among their omens the cries and flight of certain birds 
are most important. All these birds are supposed to be 
manifestations of the spirit sons-in-law of Singalang 
Burong, who is himself manifested in the white and brown 
hawk which is known by his name. 

Singalang Burong is also the god of war, and the 
guardian spirit of brave men. He delights in fighting, 
and head-taking is his glory. When Dyaks have ob- 
tained a human head, they make a great feast in his 
honour and invoke his presence. He is the only god 
ever represented by the Dyaks in a material form. It is 
a carved, highly-coloured bird of grotesque shape. This 
figure is erected on the top of a pole thirty feet or more 
in height, with its beak pointing in the direction of the 
enemy's country, so that he may " peck at the eyes of 
the enemy." 

Next in importance to Singalang Burong is Pulang 
Gana. He is the tutelary deity of the soil, and presides 
over the rice-farming. He is an important power in Dyak 
behef, and to him offerings are made and incantations 
are sung at the Gawai Batu, the "Stone Feast," which 
takes place before the farming operations begin, and also 


at the Gawai Benih, the " Festival of the Seed," just before 
the planting of the paddy. Upon his good-wiU, accord- 
ing to Dyak beHef, is supposed to depend their supply of 
the staff of life. His history is given in a myth handed 
down from ancient times (see p. 300). 

Salampandai is the maker of men. He hammers them 
into shape out of clay, and forms the bodies of children 
to be born into the world. There is an insect which 
makes at night the curious noise — hink-a-cUnk, kink-a- 
clink. When the Dyaks hear this, they say it is Salam- 
pandai at his work. The story goes that he was com- 
manded by the gods to make a man, and he made one of 
stone ; but it could not speak, and so was rejected. He 
set to work again and made one of iron ; but neither 
could that speak, so the gods refused it. The third time 
he made one of clay,* and this had the power of speech. 
The gods, Petara, were pleased, and said : " The man 
you have made will do well. Let him be the ancestor of 
the human race, and you must make others Mke him." 
And so Salampandai began forming human beings, and 
is forming them now at his anvil, using his tools in unseen 
regions. There he hammers them out, and when each 
child is formed it is brought to the Petara, who asks : 
"What would you Uke to handle and use?" If it 
answer, " A sword," the gods pronounce it a male ; but 
if it answer, " Cotton and the spinning-wheel," it is 
pronounced a female. Thus they are born as boys or 
girls, according to their own wishes. 

There is a word which is often used by the Dyaks — 
mali. It is difficult to find an exact Enghsh equivalent 

* " And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground " 
(Gen. ii. 7). In this respect Dyak tradition corresponds with the 
Biblical account. 


to the word. We may say it means " sacred," or " for- 
bidden," or " taboo," but none of these seems to me to 
convey the full force of the word mali. To the Dyak 
mind, to do anything mali is to incur the displeasure of 
the gods and spirits, and that means not only misfortune 
in this world, but for all time. Even the children seem 
to dread the word, and the Uttle boy, who is wilful and 
disobedient, will at once drop what he has in his hand if 
he is told it is mali for him to touch it. There are many 
things which the Dyaks say it is mali to do. Often they 
can give no reason for it except that it has always been 
so from ages past. 

Most races of mankind believe in the existence of a 
class of beings intermediate between deity and humanity. 
The Dyak is no exception, and he beUeves that innumer- 
able spirits, or antu, inhabit the forests, the rivers, the 
earth, and the heavens ; but whereas among other races 
the spirits seem to act as mediators between the gods 
and mankind, this is not the case among the Dyaks, 
because they believe that their gods are actually present 
in answer to invocations and sacrifices, and that they 
visit these human regions and partake of the food given 
them. With the Dyaks the distinction between spirits — 
antu — and gods — Petara — is very vague. There are both 
good and evil spirits. The former assist man, the latter 
do him injury. Of the gods no evil is predicated, and 
so it comes to pass that the good spirits are closely 
identified with their gods. 

Any imusual noise or motion in the jungle, anything 
which suggests to the mind some invisible operation, is 
at once attributed by the Dyak to the presence of some 
spirit, unseen by human eyes, but full of mighty power. 
Though generally invisible, these spirits sometimes vouch- 


safe to mankind a revelation of themselves. The form 
they assume in these manifestations is not anything very 
supernatural, but either a commonplace human form, or 
else some animal — a bird, or a monkey — ^such as is often 
seen in the forests. There is, however, the chief of evil 
spirits, Girgasi by name, who, when seen, takes the form 
of a giant about three times the size of a man, is covered 
with rough shaggy hair, and has eyes as big as saucers, 
and huge glittering teeth. 

There are innumerable stories told by the Dyaks of 
their meeting with spirits in the jungle, and sometimes 
speaking to them. Such stories generally relate how the 
man who sees the spirit rushes to catch him by the leg — 
he cannot reach higher — in order to get some charms from 
him, but he is generally foiled in his attempt, as the spirit 
suddenly vanishes. But some men, it is believed, do 
obtain these much coveted gifts. If a Dyak gets a good 
harvest of paddy, it is attributed to some magic charm he 
has received from some kindly spirit. Also, if he be suc- 
cessful on the warpath, he is credited by his fellows with 
the succour of some mysterious being from the spirit- 

The spirits rove about the jungle and hunt for wild 
beasts, as the Dyaks do themselves. Girgasi, already 
mentioned, is specially addicted to the chase, and is often 
to be met with hunting in the forest, and when seen 
assumes a formidable appearance. There are Certain 
animals which roam about in packs in the jungle, and are 
called by the Dyaks pasan. These are supposed to be 
the dogs that accompany the spirits when they are out 
hunting, and they attack those whom the spirits wish to 
kill. I have never seen one of these animals, but to judge 
from the description of them, they seem to be a kind of 


small jackal. The}^ will follow and bark at men, and 
from their supposed connection with the spirits are greatly 
feared by the Dyaks, who generally run away from them 
as fast as they can. 

A Dyak in Banting solemnly told me that one day when 
out hunting he met a spirit in human form sitting upon 
a fallen tree. Nothing daunted, he went up and sat upon 
the same tree, and entered into conversation with him, 
and asked him for some charm. The spirit gave him some 
magic medicine, which would give his dogs pluck to attack 
any wild pig or deer so long as he retained possession of it. 
Having given him this, the spirit advised the man to 
return quickly, for his dogs, he said, would be back soon, 
and might do him harm. This advice he willingly fol- 
lowed, and hurried away as fast as he could. 

There are some wonderful stories related about meeting 
the demon Girgasi. It is said that a man once saw this 
terrible spirit returning from the hunt, carrying on his 
back a captured Dyak whom he recognized. Strange to 
relate, the man died the same day on which he was seen 
carried by the spirit ! 

The spirits are said to build their invisible habitations 
in trees, and many trees are considered sacred as being 
the abode of one or more spirits, and to cut down one of 
these trees would provoke the spirits' vengeance. The 
wild fig-tree {kara) is often supposed to be inhabited by 
spirits. It is said that one way of testing whether the 
Jcara tree is the abode of spirits or not is to strike an axe 
into it at sunset, and leave it fixed in the trunk of the 
tree during the night. If the axe be found next morning 
in the same position, no spirit is there ; if it has fallen to 
the ground, he is there and has displaced the axe ! 

The tops of the hills are favourite haunts for spirits. 


When Dyaks fell the jungle of the larger hills, they always 
leave a clump of trees at the summit as a refuge for the 
spirits. To leave them quite homeless would be to court 
certain disaster from them. According to Dyak belief 
the evil spirits far outnumber the good ones. 

There are many strange customs connected with the 
Dyak belief in spirits. As all illnesses are caused by the 
spirits, it is necessary that these be propitiated. When 
there is any great epidemic in the country — when cholera 
or smallpox is killing its hundreds on all sides — one often 
notices little offerings of food hung on the walls and from 
the ceiling, animals killed in sacrifice, and blood splashed 
on the posts of the houses. When one asks why all this 
is done, they say they do it in the hope that when the 
evil spirit, who is thirsting for human lives, comes along 
and sees the offerings they have made and the animals 
killed in sacrifice, he will be satisfied with these things, 
and not take the lives of any of the people living in the 
Dyak village house. 

As a matter of fact, this offering of sacrifices to the evil 
spirits is a frequently recurrmg feature in Dyak life. The 
gods are good, and will not injure them, and so the Dyaks 
worship them at their own convenience, when they wish 
to obtain any special favour from them. But the evil 
spirits are always ready to do them harm, and to take the 
lives of victims, and therefore sacrifices must constantly 
be made to the spirits, who will accept sacrificial food as 
a substitute for the lives of human beings. 

From what has been said it will be seen that the spirits 
are to the Dyaks not mere apparitions which come and go 
without any special object, but have definite power, and 
can either bestow favours or cause sickness and death. 
Therefore they rule the conduct of the Dyak, and receive 


religious homage. They are, indeed, a constituent and 
important part of D^-ak religion. 

The sacrifices offered by the Dyaks are of two kinds — 
firing and ginselan. 

The piring is an offering composed of rice cooked in 
bamboos, cakes, eggs, sweet potatoes, plantains, or other 
fruit, and sometimes small live chickens. If the offering 
be made m the house these things are put on a brass dish 
(tabak). If the occasion of the sacrifice requires that it 
be offered elsewhere, a little platform is constructed, con- 
sisting of pieces of wood tied together with cane, and fixed 
on four sticks stuck in the ground. This is the para 
piring (the altar of sacrifice), and the offering is laid on 
it. It is covered with a rough roof of palm-leaf, and 
looks like a miniature native house, and is decorated with 
white flags. It is the most flimsy thing imaginable, and 
soon tumbles to pieces. The god or spirit is supposed to 
come and eat the good thmgs provided, and go away con- 
tented. It is no use arguing with the Dyak that he can 
see for himself that his offering is eaten up by fowls, or 
pigs, or boys, who are full of mischief, and have no fear of 
spirits. The Dyak says the spirits eat the soul or spirit 
of the food ; what is left on the altar is only its outer husk, 
not its true essence. 

I remember when I was staying at Temudok the Dyaks 
put up a little shed, with offerings of food, at the landing- 
place on the bank of the river. There was an epidemic of 
cholera at the time, and the spirits of disease were sup- 
posed to eat these offerings and go away contented. 
Among the offerings was a little live chicken, that was tied 
to the para piring, but which managed to get loose. 
Some of the schoolboys staying with me asked if they 
might catch the chicken, which was running about in the 


grass, and rear it. I did not like to allow them to do this, 
because I thought the Dyaks would resent the boys 
interfering with their sacrifice. But my Dyak catechist 
told me that the Dyaks had done their duty in making the 
offerings, and what happened afterwards to the things 
offered did not matter. So the boys caught the chicken 
and reared it. I spoke to the Dyaks about it afterwards, 
and they did not seem to mind their " altar of sacrifice " 
being robbed of its offering ! 

In the ginselan there is always some animal slain, and 
the blood of the victim is used. The person on whose 
behalf the offering is made is sprinkled or touched with 
the blood to atone for any wrong he may have done, 
and the house or farm upon which the blessing of the gods 
is desired is also sprmkled with the blood. 

This kind of sacrifice is very often offered on behalf of 
farms, and no Dyak thinks his paddy will come to 
maturity without some application of blood. The fowl 
is waved in the air over the farm, then it is killed, and the 
blood sprinkled over the growing paddy. 

When there is an epidemic, the ginselan is often offered 
to the spirits of disease, and blood is sprinkled on 
the posts of the house and on the ladder leading up 
to it. 

On most occasions the victim of the sacrifice, be it pig 
or fowl, is afterwards eaten. But if the sacrifice be to 
Pulang Gana at the commencement of the farming, the 
pig and other offerings are conveyed with the beating of 
gongs to the land prepared for receiving the seed. The 
pig is killed, its liver and gall examined for divination, 
the body and other offerings put in the ground, and some 
tuak (native spirit) poured upon them ; a long invocation 
is then made to Pulang Gana, the god of the land. If a 


fowl be sacrificed for adultery, its body is thrown away 
in the jungle. 

For all ordinary sacrifices a fowl suffices, but on great 
occasions a pig, being the largest animal the Dyak 
domesticates, is killed. 

Anyone may offer these sacrifices. There does not 
seem to be among the Dyaks any priestly order whose 
duty it is to officiate at religious ceremonies. Any man 
who has been fortunate in life, or knows the form of address 
to be used to the deities on these occasions, may perform 
the sacrificial function. 

All that the Dyak hopes to get by his religious cere- 
monies is material benefits — good crops of paddy, the 
heads of his enemies, skill m craft, health, and prosperity. 
Even when there is some idea of the propitiation for sin, as 
in the slaying of a victim after an act of adultery, the idea 
of the Dyak is not so much the cleansing of the offender 
as the appeasing of the anger of the gods, because in their 
anger the gods may destroy their crops or otherwise give 
them trouble. There is no idea of seeking for pardon for 
the offenders. It is merely a compensation for wrong 
done, and a bargam with the gods to protect theh material 

The longing to communicate with the supernatural is 
common to all races of mankind. The Dyak has a special 
means of bringing this about ; he has a custom which is 
called nmn'pok. To namjwk is to sleep on the top of some 
mountain, or other lonely place, in the hope of meeting 
some good spirit from the unseen world. A cemetery is 
a favourite place to nampok in, because the Dyaks think 
there is great probability of meeting spirits in such places. 
The undertaking requires considerable pluck. The man 
must be quite alone, and he must let no one know of his 


whereabouts. The spirit he meets may take any form ; 
he may come in human form and treat him kindly, or he 
may assume a hideous form and attack him. 

A man nampohs for one of two reasons. Either he is 
fired with great ambition to shine in deeds of strength and 
bravery, and to attain the position of a Chief, and hopes 
to receive some charm (pengaroh) from the spirits, or he 
is suffering from some obstinate disease, and hopes to be 
told by some kindly spirit what he must do in order to 
be cured. It can easily be understood how the desire 
would in many cases bring about its own fulfilment. The 
unusual surroundings, the expected arrival of some super- 
natural being, the earnest wish actmg upon a credulous 
and superstitious imagination in the solemn solitude of 
the jungle — all would help to make the man dream of 
some spirit or mythical hero. 

The Dyak has no temple erected in honour of some god 
to which, like the ancients of the Western World, he can 
make a pilgrimage. He has no altar before which he can 
spend the night in order to receive revelations in dreams, 
but he goes instead to the lonely mountain-top, or the 
cemetery where so many heroes of the past have been 
buried, and makes his offering and lies to rest beside it. 
The circumstances are different, but the spirit and 
the object in both cases are the same. The story 
often told of a miraculous cure is also similar in each 

There are certain rocks in different parts of Borneo 
which are called by the Dyaks batu kudi (stones caused 
by the wrath of the gods). A story is related in con- 
nection with each. The following are some of these 
mythical stories : — 

1. In the bed of the Sesang River there is a rock 


which is only visible at the lowest of the ebb-tide. It is 
called Batu Kudi Sabar. The story goes that in olden 
days the inmates of a Dj^ak house tied to a dog's tail a 
piece of wood, which they set alight. They all laughed 
at the sight as the dog ran off in fright, dragging after 
him the burnmg torch. Suddenly there was darkness, 
and a great storm came on. There were thunder and 
lightning, and torrents of rain, and the house and its 
inmates were turned into this large rock. A family con- 
sisting of three persons managed to escape. They did 
not join in the laughter at the dog, but ran out of the 
house and hid in a clump of bamboo. They saw all that 
happened, and told the tale. 

2. On the bank of the Krian River just above Temudok 
is a large rock called Batu Kudi Siap. It is said that the 
people in a long Dyak house held a feast to which many 
invited guests came. An old woman who was living alone 
in a farm-hut, and had not been asked to the feast, dressed 
up a cat m finery, " like a young damsel going to a feast," 
tied a piece of wood to her tail, and, placing her before 
the people, said : " Here is a girl come to you to ask for a 
light." The people laughed at the cat. Instantly there 
were darkness and a terrible storm, and the house and all 
the inmates were turned to stone. A similar tale is told 
of the Batu Kudi at Selanjan. 

3. There are Batu Kudi in the Grenjang River, as well 
as in the Undup and Batang Ai Rivers, of which the fol- 
lowing tale is told : Two girls were standing in the water 
catching fish with a fishing-basket {pemansai). A small 
emplasi fish jumped out of the basket, and hit the breast 
of one of the girls. She laughed, and said : " Even my 
lover would not dare to touch my breast as you do." 
Her companion also laughed at the fish. There was a 

A KivER Scenic 

The illustration shows same naiive huts by a river which flows throjgh a cocoanut plantation. 


storm, accompanied by lightning and thunder, and both 
girls were turned into rocks. 

4. In the Saribas River there is a Batu Kudi, of which 
the following tale is told : Some men and boys were 
watching a monkey crossing the river on a creeper which 
hung low down over the water. The tail of the animal 
touched the water, and one of them laughed, and said : 
" The end of his waist-cloth (sirat) is wet ; why was he so 
foolish as not to tie it round his waist ?" At this remark 
all laughed, and a terrible storm came on, and they were 
turned to stone. 

There is a similarity about all these stories. In each 
some animal is made fun of and laughed at by human 
beings. This incurs the displeasure of the gods, whose 
anger is shown in the same way — a terrible storm, thunder 
and lightning, and the turning of the offenders into stone. 

There are, however, other Batu Kudi of which different 
stories are told, but these are not so common. For 
instance, in the Skrang River there are two large black 
boulders which are said to be a brother and sister who 
were guilty of the crime of incest ; and in the Sebuyau 
River there is a collection of rocks said to be the inhabi- 
tants of a whole village, who were guilty of a serious 
breach of the law of hospitahty, and refused to give food 
and shelter to some travellers. 

The moral of these mythical tales is good. All sin is 
displeasing to the gods, and will meet with deserved 
punishment, but specially are they angry when they see 
human beings ill-treat and ridicule dumb animals. 

These Batu Kudi are not worshipped. Offerings of 
food are sometimes seen hanging near them, but these are 
not made to the " stones of wrath," but to the gods of 
whose displeasure they are the testimony. 


The Sea Dyak belief in a future life has already been 
mentioned in the chapter on Burial Rites. But it is no 
gloomy Tartarus, nor is it a happy Elysium, that Hes 
before him. It is simply a prolongation of the present 
state of things in a new sphere. The dead are supposed 
to build houses, make paddy farms, and go through all 
the drudgery of a labouring hfe in that other world. This 
future life does not, in the mind of the Dyak, mean im- 
mortality. Death is still the final and inevitable destiny 
of man. He may hve many hves in different spheres — 
he may die as often as seven times — but in the end he 
becomes annihilated, and absorbed into air, or earth, or 
certain jungle plants. 

To sum up, the Sea Dyak worships his gods. There are 
good spirits ready to help him, and evil spirits eager to 
harm him. He has omens and divination and dreams to 
encourage or warn him. The traditions of his ancestors, 
handed down by word of mouth from generation to genera- 
tion, are his authority for his behefs. He makes sacrifices 
to the gods and spirits, and invokes their help in long 
incantations. He beheves he has a soul which after 
death will Hve in another world a future hfe differing httle 
from his existence in the flesh. 


Four classes of feasts — Preparations — Feasts connected with: 1, Head- 
taking ; 2, Farming ; 3, The dead ; 4, Dreams, etc. — House- 
warming — Social feasts. 


'^HE Dyak religious feasts may be divided into the 
four following classes : 
Those connected with — 

1. Head-taking. 

2. Farming. 

3. The dead. 

4. Dreams, etc. 

Though the Dyak feasts differ in their aims, there is a 
great deal which seems to be common to them all. The 
social character of all these feasts seems to be of more 
importance than the religious aspect, and the feasting of 
the guests has more consideration than the making of 
offerings to the spirits or gods. In none of these feasts 
does there seem to be any real, reverential, rehgious 
worship. It is true food is offered to the spirits, but this 
is done as the mere observance of an ancient custom, 
without any approach to rehgious reverence. There are 
also long incantations made to the higher powers by men 
selected for that purpose, who have good memories and 
can recite in a monotonous chant the special hymns of 

209 U 


great length connected with each feast. But the guests 
do not share in it as an act of rehgious worship. They 
are generally sittmg round, talking and laughing and 
eating. While these incantations are sung, topics of 
common interest are discussed and plans formed, and 
in all these feasts sociabihty, friendship, and the par- 
taking of food and drink seem to take a more prominent 
place than any rehgious worship. 

The preparations for all these feasts are much ahke. 
They extend over a length of time, and consist for the 
most part in the procuring of food for the guests. The 
young men go to their friends, far and near, and obtain 
from them presents of pigs or fowls for the feast, and as 
cock-fighting is loved by the Dyaks, they at the same 
time procure as many fighting-cocks as possible. The 
women busy themselves with pounding out an extra 
amount of rice, both for the consumption of the guests 
and also for the making of tuak, or native spirit. 

A httle before the date fixed for the feast a great tuba 
fishing takes place, by which means a great amount of 
fish is generally obtained, salted, and kept for consumption 
at the feast. The men go out into the jungle to hunt for 
pig and deer. 

The special characteristics and rehgious aspect of the 
different feasts must now be noticed. 

1. Feasts connected with Head-Taking. — All these 
are given in honour of Singalang Burong. He is supposed 
to be the ruler of the spirit-world and the god of war. 
These feasts are not held so frequently as those comiected 
with farming, but when any of them take place a great 
deal is made of the event. 

1. Gawai Burong (the "Bird Feast"), or Gawai Ten- 
yalaiig (the " Hornbill Feast "), or Gawai Pala (the " Head 


Feast "). This feast, which is known by different names, 
is the most important of Dyak feasts, and lasts three 
days, whereas other feasts last only one day. In this feast 
food is given to the human heads taken in war. In the 
old days, it was only held on the return from a successful 
war expedition, when the heads of the enemy were brought 
home in triumph. But in the present day, this feast is 
organized when the people of the Dyak house get a good 
harvest and wish to have it. 

Among the preparations for this feast is the making of 
the tenyalang, a carved wooden figure of the rhinoceros 
hornbill. Some men carrying offerings, and others beat- 
ing drums and playing musical instruments, go to the 
jungle and select a suitable tree. At the foot of it the 
offerings are placed, and some fowls are killed and the 
blood sprinkled on the ground to propitiate the spirits. 
The tree is feUed, and a portion of it, which is to be carved, 
is taken to the Dyak house, where it is received with much 

This wood is given to the men who are to carve it into 
the desired shape, and each man has the necessary tools 
given him. When he has finished his work, he keeps these 
tools, and, in addition, receives some other payment. 
The number of carved birds differs according to the 
number of the people in the house who are of importance, 
and have taken heads in warfare. 

The tenyalang are not an exact copy of the hornbill, 
but are elaborately and fantastically carved and gor- 
geously painted in many bright colours. 

Some men go into the jungle and cut down belian trees 
to make poles on which the figures of the rhinoceros horn- 
bill are to be set up. These are of different lengths, ac- 
cording to the rank of the person who intends to use it, 


the man of greatest importance having the longest 

The first day of the feast is spent in completing the 
carving and the colouring of these tenyalang and making 
other final preparations. The guests are entertained with 
food and drink. As Dyak hosts are considered niggardly 
if there is no drunkenness at a feast, the young men are 
encouraged to drink as much as possible. The Dyak girls, 
who do not drink themselves, serve out the tuak, or native 
spirit. They hand a cup of liquor to a man and shout, 
" Weh ! Weh /" as he drinks it. When he has finished 
it, he puts the cup down by his side to take home with 
him when the feast is over. Another full cup is handed 
to him in the same manner, and he goes on drinking until 
he is unable to do so any longer. A group of young men 
seated in the public hail of the Dyak house surrounded 
by gaily-dressed girls serving them with drink is not a 
pleasant sight. The noise and confusion are great, as 
many are drunk. Plates containing cakes and other 
delicacies, as well as rice cooked in bamboos, are handed 
round to the men, women, and children at short intervals. 

A rather pretty ceremony takes place on the first day 
of the feast. A number of women dressed in their best 
garments and wearing all the jewellery and ornaments 
they possess, walk in single file, holding in their hands 
plates of yellow rice and paddy. They are led by a Dyak 
dancer in full war-dress, armed with sword and shield, and 
dancing to the accompaniment of musical instruments. 
The women sprinkle the paddy and yellow rice on the 
assembled guests as they walk slowly the length of the 
whole house. 

On the second day of the feast the painted figures of 
the rhinoceros hornbill are first of all timanged, or sung to 

Three Dyak Giri.s drkssru in their Finery to Attend a Feast 

1 he girls on the ri^ht and left wear collars worked with beads and coloured threads. They are al 
wearing ear pendants and belts made of silver coins. 


in a monotonous manner. This is looked upon as a kind 
of consecration of them. They are now ready to be fixed 
on the top of the poles which are planted in a row. Sacri- 
fices are made to Singalang Burong, whom these figures 
are supposed to represent. Balls of rice are thrown up 
to these carved tenyalang, and the blood of pigs and fowls 
is shed in honour of the great Singalang Burong, the 
god of war and the inspirer of bravery. When seen, this 
god takes, as I have said, the form of the white and brown 
hawk so common in Borneo. Why the figure made to 
represent him is that of the rhinoceros hornbill, and not 
that of the hawk, is an inconsistency for which the Dyaks 
have no explanation. 

Some human heads are placed in large brass dishes in 
the pubHc hall of the Dyak house, and to these offerings 
of food and drink are made. Some of this food is stuffed 
into the mouths of these heads, and the rest is placed 
before them. 

There are also certain erections called fandong put up 
at regular intervals in the long pubMc veranda, and to 
these are hung war charms and swords and spears, etc. 
The men who are to make the incantations walk up and 
down, going round the pandong and the heads in the 
brass dishes, singing the particular pengap, or incantation, 
which is used at this feast. There are generally two 
principal singers, each of whom is followed by five or six 
others. The leaders sing in turn a few hnes, and the 
rest join in the chorus at the end of each verse. The 
leaders are dressed gaily, and have, in addition to their 
Dyak dress, a long coat reaching to the ground. They 
all hold long walking-sticks in their hands and stamp their 
feet as they walk along. 

This song of the head feast takes the form of a story 


setting forth how the mythical hero Klieng held a head 
feast on his return from the warpath, and invited the 
god of war, Singalang Burong, to attend it. It describes 
at great length all that happened on that occasion. The 
singing of this song takes up the whole night. It begins 
before 8 p.m., and lasts till next morning. Except for a 
short interval for rest in the middle of the night, the 
performers are marching and singing aU the time. 

On the third day the people go out on the tanju, or open- 
air platform, in front of the Dyak house. They take with 
them offerings of food and drink and a hve pig. The 
mats are spread out, and the guests sit down, and food 
is handed round to them. The men of rank and those 
who have distinguished themselves in battle sit together, 
and the oldest of these is asked to make the offering to 
Singalang Burong. The drums are struck in a particular 
manner called pepat ; the pig is killed as a sacrifice, and 
the liver examined to find out whether good or bad 
fortune is in store for them. The people shout together 
(manjong) at short intervals until a hawk is seen flying 
in the heavens. That hawk is Singalang Burong, who 
has taken that form to manifest himself to them. He 
has accepted their offerings and has heard their cry. The 
ceremony is over, and the crowd return into the house. 
The guests go back to their homes after feasting and 
drinking Hberally for three days and nights. 

(2) Gawai Ijoh (the " Ijok Feast ") : The ijoTc is the 
gamuti palm from which the native drink tuah is ob- 
tained. When a man has held the hornbiU feast several 
times, and has been successful against the enemy, this 
feast sometimes takes place. The special characteristic 
of this feast is that a long pole is set up, and at the top of 
it a jar of native spirit (tuak) is placed. Incantations 


and offerings are made to Singalang Burong as in the 
former feast. 

(3) Oawai Gajah (the "Elephant Feast ") : This feast 
can only be held by a war leader who has been particularly 
successful against the enemy, and has succeeded in obtain- 
ing a large number of heads. It is of so great importance 
that the Dyaks say that, after this feast has been held, 
no other need be held in honour of any new heads that 
may be brought into the house. It is very rarely observed 
in modern times. The last was held some fifteen years 
ago by Kinching, a Skrang Dyak living in the Undiip. 
Offerings and incantations are made to Singalang Burong 
as in the Tenyalang feast. The wooden figure of an 
elephant is placed on the top of a long pole planted in the 
ground, and to this figure offerings are made. 

2. The three principal Feasts connected with 
Farming are the Gaivai Batu, the Gawai Benih, and the 
Gaivai Nyimpan Padi. 

(1) Gawai Batu (the "Stone Feast ") : This feast takes 
place before the farming operations begin, and is in 
honour of Pulang Gana, the god of the land, who fives 
in the bowels of the earth, and has power to make the 
land fruitful or unfruitful. In this feast invocations are 
made to this god, and he is asked to give them a good 
harvest. The whetstones and farming implements are 
placed in a heap in the veranda of the Dyak house, and 
offerings are made to the whetstones with a request that 
they may sharpen their tools and thus hghten their 
labours. After the feast is over the whetstones are taken 
to the different farms, and the work of cutting down the 
jungle for planting begins. 

(2) Gawai Benih (the " Seed Feast ") : This feast is held 
just before sowing. The seed is placed in baskets in the 


public part of the Dyak house, and Pulang Gana is asked 
to bless it and make it fruitful. 

(3) Gawai Nyimpan Padi (the "Feast of Storing the 
Paddy ") : This is held after the reaping and winnowing 
are over and the paddy is ready to be stored in the paddy- 
bins in the loft of the Dyak house. It is only held when 
the harvest is a particularly good one. A blessing is asked 
upon the paddy, that it may last a long time, and may not 
decrease in any mysterious way. Friends who are in- 
vited to the feast help to carry and store away the paddy. 

3. The great Feast connected with the Dead is 
the Gawai Antu (the " Spirit Feast '') : No definite period 
is fixed for the celebration of it, and it may be held one 
or more years after the death of the person. All those 
that have died since the last time the feast \^ as held, and 
have not yet been honoured by this festival for the dead, 
are remembered at the same tim^e, so that the number 
of departed spirits commemorated by this feast is great, 
especially if it is many years since the last time the 
feast was held. 

The preparation is carried on for many weeks. Food 
and drink and other things are procured. Distant friends 
are visited and asked to help the feast with gifts of food 
or money. When all is ready, the whole neighbourhood 
for miles around is invited to it. It is an opportunity 
for a friendly social gathering, and it is a formal laying 
aside of mourning, but in addition, it is a refigious cere- 
mony, and means the doing of certain things necessary for 
the final weUbeing of the dead in the other world. 

The dead are invoked and invited to be present at this 
feast. But how are they to come from Hades ? Send a 
boat for them, says the Dyak, and so he sends what he 
calls a himpang. A piece of bamboo in which rice hag 


been cooked is make into a tiny boat and sent to Hades. 
Actually it is thrown away beneath the house, but spirit- 
ually, through the incantation of the waller, it is carried to 
the unseen realm to fetch their dead relatives and friends. 
Great is the joy of the spirits when they see this boat, 
which by the time of its arrival has grown into a large 
war-boat. They are ready to start as soon as the final 
summons comes. 

The preparations for the feast go on. The hard wood 
memorial monuments for the graves are got ready by 
the men. The day before the feast, the women weave, 
with finely-spht bamboo, small imitations of various 
articles of personal and domestic use, and these are hung 
over the graves — that is to say, given to the dead for 
their use in the other world. If it be a man for whom the 
feast is made, a bamboo gun, a shield, a war-cap, and 
such things are woven ; if a woman, a loom, a fish- 
basket, a winnowing fan, etc. ; if a child, toys of various 

An offering of food is put outside the house for the 
dead visitors who may be too hungry to wait for the 
food in the house. 

The living guests arrive during the day, but the feast- 
ing does not begin till the evening. Before the feasting 
comes the formal putting off of mourning. The nearest 
male relative of the dead person in whose honour the 
feast is held comes dressed in an old waist-cloth or 
trousers. These are slit through by some Chief, and the 
man assumes a better garment. In the case of female 
relatives the rotan rings round the waist are cut through 
and set aside, and they resume the use of their personal 
ornaments and jewellery. The bundles containing the 
finery, that were put away at the death of their relative, 


are brought forth, and the string tying them cut through. 
As the feast is in honour of several who have died since 
the feast was last held, this kind of thing goes on in 
several of the rooms at the same time. 

The professional wailer sings her song of mourning 
(see p. 228), beginning in the evening. The journey 
from Hades is so long that the dead do not arrive till 
early dawn. And then occurs an action in which the 
dead and living are supposed to join. A portion of tuah 
(rice spirit) has been reserved in a bamboo as the peculiar 
portion of the dead. It is now drunk by some old man 
renowned for bravery, who is not afraid of so near a 
contact with the spirits of the dead. This " drinking 
of the bamboo," as it is called, is an important part of 
the festival, and is greeted with shouts of joy. 

The morning after the feast, the last duty to the dead 
is performed. The ironwood monuments, the bamboo 
imitation articles, and food of all kinds are arranged upon 
the different graves. Having received these gifts, the 
dead relinquish all claim upon the living, and depend on 
their own resources. But before the Gawai Antu they 
are supposed to come to the house and take their share 
of the food and drink. 

According to ancient custom, this feast could not be 
held until a new human head had been procured, but this 
ghastly ornament to the festival has now generally to be 
dispensed with. 

4. A superstitious people hke the Dyaks, living in 
constant dread of unseen powers, naturally hold a feast 
whenever anything unusual takes place. As the gods 
and spirits are supposed to communicate their wishes to 
human beings by means of dreams, it naturally follows 
that if a man dreams that some spirit is hungry and 


asks for food, at once a feast is held, and offerings made 
to that spirit. As the omens of birds are observed and 
obeyed by the Dyaks, and the special omen birds are 
looked upon as sons-in-law and messengers of the great 
god Singalang Burong, when a bird of ill omen comes 
into a Dyak house, the Dyaks hold a feast and make 
offerings to the gods and spirits. When a man has re- 
covered from a long and dangerous illness, very often 
a feast is held to thank the spirit of disease for leaving 
them, and to beg him to stay away a long time. Also 
when a valuable jar (tajau) is brought into a house a feast 
is often made in its honour. 

In addition to all these feasts, there is the Gaivai 
Mandi Rumah. This is a kind of house-warming, and is 
held when the Dyaks go into a new house. Offerings are 
made to the gods and spirits, and a blessing is asked upon 
the new house, so that those who hve in it may have good 
crops, good health, and live happily together. 

The Dyaks also sometimes hold feasts which are social 
gatherings for eating and drinking, and have no con- 
nection with any religious idea. Tliese are called Mahai 
di riiai (" eating in the hall "), or MaJcai rami (" eating 
joyfully in large numbers "). 


D3^ak games — Football — War Dance — Sword Dance — Dyak music — 
Cock-fighting — Tops — " Riding the tidal bore " — Swimming — 
Trials of strength. 

AT certain times of the year the Dyaks are very 
busy at their farms, and go to work early in the 
morning, and do not return till late at night. 
But they have their slack times, when there is not so 
much work to be done, and then they have plenty of 
opportunity to indulge in games. 

They do not seem to have a large variety of pastimes. 
The following are those most popular among them. 

Football is played by the Dyaks m a curious manner. 
The players stand in a circle about four yards from each 
other, the size of this circle varying according to the 
number of the players. The ball is kicked in the air by 
the player to whom it falls nearest. This kicking is done 
in a curious manner with the sole of the foot. A party 
of good players will keep a ball in the air for several 
minutes, each player kicking it upwards just as it is 
about to fall, or as it bounds upwards from the ground. 
The ball itself is a light hollow one of rattan open-work, 
and is about the size of a croquet-ball. 

The Dyaks are fond of dancing, and at their feasts and 



on other occasions when many are met together, they will 
keep it up for hours to the thumping of drums and the 
beating of brass gongs. They have a musical instrument 
of bamboo, like the pan-pipe (engkrurai), to which they 
sometimes dance ; but the usual music on such occasions 
is a row of small brass gongs (engkrumong), placed on the 
ground, and beaten with two sticks, also large brass gongs, 
and a variety of drums. 

The two popular dances are the Sword Dance and the 
War Dance, both of which are danced by the men. It is 
very rarely that the women dance. I am told that they 
only do so when a fighting-party have been successful, 
and return with a human head which has been taken in 
war. Then the women, dressed up in all their finery, 
go to the landing-stage where the war-boat is, and as the 
head is taken to the house the women dance around it 
singing a monotonous chant. 

The Mencha, or Sword Dance, is danced in the foUowuig 
manner : Two swords, or in their place two sticks, are 
placed on the mat, and the two dancers commence from 
the opposite ends, turnmg the body, clapping the hands, 
and extending the arms, lifting their feet and planting 
them down in grotesque but not ungraceful attitudes. 
For a few minutes they posture and move in leisurely 
manner round and round about ; then they seize the 
swords, and pass and repass each other, now cutting, 
now crossing swords, retiring and advancing. Sometimes 
one kneels as though to defend himself from the attacks 
of his adversary. The main idea of this Sword Dance 
seems to be the posturing in different attitudes, and not 
so much the skill displayed in fencing. Those are con- 
sidered the best dancers who, according to Dyak ideas, 
are the most graceful in their movements. I have often 


watched a Dyak Sword Dance where neither has touched 
the other with his sword, the movements having been so 
leisurely that there has been plenty of time to ward off 
each attack. 

The dance seems quite in keeping with the Dyak sur- 
roundings, and the whole effect of it is very striking. 
The long veranda of the Dyak house dimly lighted up by 
damar torches ; the pretty silver tones of the small row 
of brass enkrumong struck by two sticks in fast measure ; 
the deep tones of the large brass gongs ; the numerous 
noisy drums ; the crowd of spectators standing, sitting, 
or kneeling ; the screams of encouragement to the dancers ; 
the evolutions of the two performers — all help to form a 
weird and striking scene. 

The Ajat, or War Dance, is danced by one man. He is 
generally fully armed with sword, and spear, and shield. 
He acts in pantomime what is done when on the war- 
path. The dancer begins by imitating the creeping 
through the jungle in cautious manner, looking to the 
right and to the left, before and behind, for the foe. The 
lurking enemy is suddenly discovered, and after some 
rapid attack and defence a sudden plunge is made upon 
him, and he lies dead on the ground. The taking of the 
head of this invisible enemy in pantomime now follows. 
A great deal of liberty is allowed the dancer, and the 
dances are very varied. Sometimes the dance ends with 
the defeat and death of the dancer. The last agonies of 
the dying man are too closely and painfully depicted to 
be altogether pleasant to watch. 

The musical instruments which accompany the War 
Dance are much the same as those used for the Sword 
Dance. There are the engkrumong, or row of little brass 
gongs, the large gongs, and a variety of drums. But the 


music is in different time, the music for the War Dance 
being quicker than that for the Sword Dance. 

Cock-fighting is a very favourite amusement of the 
Dyaks, and is mdulged in to a great extent at all their 
feasts. In fact, one of the preparations for a feast is for 
the inmates of the house to go round to theh friends and 
beg for as many fighting-cocks as they can. The cocks 
have artificial steel spurs, which are very sharp. 

Spinning tops is a favourite amusement, not only of the 
children, but also of grown-up men. They generally 
divide themselves into two sides. One side spin their 
tops, and the other party, standmg at a given distance, 
aim at the spinning tops with their tops. Great skUl is 
shown in the manner in which a man often hits a top, 
driving it far away, and leaves his top spinning in its 

The Dyaks are very much at home on the water, and 
a favourite amusement of the Dyaks at Banting was to 
" ride the tidal bore." During the spring-tides, when 
there was a tidal bore, they would paddle down the river 
some distance, and wait for the turn of the tide. When 
the bore came, they would get just in front of it, and the 
great wave would send the boats up-river at a good pace 
without any paddlmg on their part. Of course, a great 
many boats were often swamped, but that only added to 
the fun. When I was stationed at Banting, the school- 
boys often asked to be allowed to " ride the bore." 

The Sea Dyaks seem to acquire naturally the art of 
swimming. They are taken to the water regularly from 
infancy, and dipped and floated on the water, and at an 
early age they are able to swim. They swim hand over 
hand. They never take " a header " in diving, but jump 
in feet foremost. 


The Dyaks are fond of wrestling, and many of them 
are good wrestlers. At a Dyak feast very often the 
young men have friendly wrestling matches. They have 
also other trials of strength. Two j'oimg men sit on the 
ground opposite each other, feet placed against feet, and 
a stout stick is grasped by both their hands. Each then 
tries to throw himself back, so as to raise his adversary 
from the ground either b}^ main strength or sudden effort. 
Another trial of strength is to put two fingers of one 
opponent against two fingers of another, the elbows being 
placed upon a table or log ; then each party tries to 
force the other's fingers backward. Or else two stand 
up face to face, and each grasps the two first fingers of 
his opponent, holding his arm up, so that their hands 
are the same level as their faces, and they each try by 
main force to lower the arm of the other. 

The Dyaks are very fond of jumping, and at Banting, 
in the cool of the evening, the young men, returning with 
me from Evening Prayer in church, would often try the 
long-jump or high-jump near the Mission House. 

Thej^ also play a game called galaiigaiig, not unlike 
prisoners' base. The players divide themselves into 
parties, and one party is set to watch certain lines 
which the other part}' cross. If anyone is touched 
as he crosses a line, his side loses, and has to do the 

The evening amusements are listening to some story, 
either set to verse and sung, or simply told in prose, 
and the asking each other riddles. These riddles are 
generally rhyming verses. 


Love of music — Love songs — Boat songs — War songs — Incantations 
at Dyak feasts — ^The song of mourning — Musical instruments. 

^T^HE Dyaks are very fond of singing, and it is no 
I unusual thing to hear some solitary boatman 
singing as he paddles along. Weird beyond words, 
and yet possessing a quaint rhythm, are most of the songs 
of the Dyak. They give vent to their feelings in their 
own way, which is very different from ours, but their 
plaintive songs are not unpleasant, and show a certain 
amount of poetical feeling. 

The pelandai, or love song, seems to be very popular 
among the young men. In it the native singer pours 
forth his feelings, his sorrows and disappointments, his 
hopes and his fears. The music is to our ideas monot- 
onous, and it is not always easy to understand the 
meaning of what is sung, as mai- archaic expressions are 
used, and the singer sometimes calls his love by one name , 
sometimes by another ; at one time she is spoken of as a 
bird, and then, in the next line perhaps, the name of some 
animal is applied to her. A similar song sung by the 
women is called bedungai. 

They have their boat songs, with which the crew of a 
long Dyak boat often enliven the time. The leader sings 
a verse, and the others join in the chorus, keeping time 

225 15 


with the strokes of the paddle or oar. The leader often 
improvises his subject as he sings, and introduces any 
little incident that has taken place, or little experience 
they have gone through, much to the amusement of his 

In their war songs the singer chants in a low monot- 
onous voice the deeds of heroes in the olden days, and 
how they won and brought home human heads to lay at 
the feet of their brides. These war songs are often 
accompanied by the excited whoops and yells of the 

There is the hernong, usuallj^ sung by two singers, who 
take it in turns to sing a verse, and then the chorus is 
sung bj^ both. This, as well as the pelandai, or love song, 
may often be heard in the evening m the long Dyak 

Then there is the kana, in which some legend or fairj'^- 
tale is sung by someone versed in ancient lore, as he 
sits on a swing in the dimly-lit veranda of the Dyak 

Singing also forms part of all their sacred rites. At all 
their ceremonial feasts connected with warfare, farming, 
or the dead, the incantations, or pengap, as they are 
called, are in the form of Dyak verse, and sung. These 
songs differ considerabl}^ from the ordinary language of 
the Dyak, and a person, who can understand and speak 
Dyak, may yet find the pengap most unintelligible. 
Native metaphor and most excessive verbosity, together 
with the use of many archaic expressions, the meanings 
of which have long been forgotten, as well as the introduc- 
tion of many coined words, which mean nothing, and are 
simply dragged in because they rhyme with the words pre- 
ceding — all these things are quite certain to mystify an 


uninstructed hearer. Another reason why it is so difficult 
to understand the pengap is that the language used is 
that of many generations back. The pengap, being learnt 
by heart, and handed down with verbal accuracy from 
one generation to another, is in the language of the past, 
whereas the ordinary spoken language of the Dyak is 
continually changing and developing new forms. There 
are a great deal of alliteration in the pengap, a certain 
peculiar rhythm and a string of rhyming words. 

The presence of invisible beings is very strongly believed 
by the Dyak, and he is persuaded that spirits both good 
and bad are always round him. As a form of invocation 
to these spirits, and in all the ceremonial feasts of the 
Dyaks, as well as on other important occasions, the 
pengap are sung, sometimes by one man seated on a 
swing, sometimes by a number of men, who walk up and 
down the long veranda, dressed in flowing robes, with a 
long staff in the right hand of each. From what has been 
said it will be easily understood that there are a great 
number of different pengap suited to different occasions. 
In each incantation some special spirit or deity is more 
specially invoked. 

At the Dyak Head Feast, Singalang Burong — the Mars 
of Dyak mythology — is specially invoked to be present 
in the pengap which is sung. In the feasts coimected 
with farming, Pulang Gana, the god of the soil, is in- 
voked, and asked to drive from their farms all rats and 
birds and insects that may hurt the paddy. And at the 
feasts given in honour of the dead all the spirits of dead 
relatives and friends, as well as those of mythical heroes, 
are invited to partake of the good things provided. Then, 
again, when the manangs, or Dyak witch-doctors, are 
called in to cure a sick man, they often walk round and 


round the sick man, and chant a pengap, invoking Salam- 
pandai, the Great Spirit-Doctor, to come to their aid, and 
make their charms efficacious in bringing about the cure 
of the sick man. 

Some of the Dyak pengap are of great length, and the 
singing of them occupies the whole night. The singer 
or singers begin soon after 8 p.m., and go on till early 
dawn, only resting for about half an hour, two or three 
times during the whole night. 

The song of mourning is among some tribes sung by 
a professional waller, generally a woman, who is paid to 
lament the lost, and by her presence and incantation to 
assist and guide the soul in its journey to Hades (Sabayan). 
Her song is begun on the evening of the death, and lasts 
the whole night. The sum of it is this : — She blames 
the different parts of the house for allowing the soul to 
depart, and she calls upon bird, beast, and fish to go to 
Hades with a message, but in vain, for they are unable 
to undertake the journey. Then in despair she calls upon 
the Spirit of the Winds to go. At first the spirit is 
reluctant, but at the earnest request of the waller, who 
calls his wife to her aid, he at length consents to do her 
bidding. His journey through forests and plains, hills 
and valleys, across rivers and the sea, is minutely de- 
scribed till night comes on, and, tired and hungry, he 
stops to rest for the night. He climbs a high tree to 
see which is the proper road — on all sides there are roads : 
the ways of the dead are very numerous — but all is dim, 
misty, and uncertain. In his perplexity, he changes his 
human form, and metamorphoses himself into a rushing 
wind. He soon makes his presence in Hades known by 
a furious tempest, which sweeps aU before it, and rouses 
the sleeping inhabitants. Startled, they ask each other 


what is the meaning of this great commotion. The Spirit 
of the Wind answers that their presence is wanted in the 
land of the living. They must go and fetch a certain 
man and his belongings who wishes to come to Hades, but 
does not know the way, and needs someone to guide him. 
The dead rejoice at the summons. In a moment they 
collect together, get into a long boat, and paddle hurriedly 
through Limban, the Dyak Styx. When they arrive at 
the landing-place, the dead make an eager rush for the 
house, and enter the room of the dead man. The de- 
parted soul cries out in anguish at bemg thus suddenly 
and violently carried off, but long before the ghostly party 
have reached their abode in Hades, he becomes reconciled 
to his fate. Such in brief outline is the song of the waller. 
By her song she has helped to convey the soul to its new 
home. Without her aid the soul would be lost, and 
remain suspended in mid -air and find no rest. 

The songs and incantations of the Dyaks are not set to 
any particular melody. They are sung to a kind of chant, 
and long sentences are often repeated on one note. But 
they have several distinct settings for the different songs 
and incantations, and these seem to suit the subject. 
The song of mourning, for instance, sounds very sad and 
pathetic even to one who does not understand the 
language . 

The musical instruments of the Dyaks are of a more or 
less primitive type, but when played together, the result is 
not unpleasing. Those employed as an accompaniment 
to the Sword Dance or the War Dance are brass gongs of 
different sizes and a variety of drums. First there is the 
deep-sounding brass tawak, the sound of which travels a 
great distance, and which, when struck in a peculiar 
manner, is the danger signal in times of war. Next in 


order of importance comes the smaller brass gong which 
is called the chanang, and lastly the enghrumong of eight 
small brass gongs of different sizes arranged in order in a 
long open box. The player of the engkrumong has a stick 
in each hand, and strikes these different gongs in quick 

They have numerous drums of different shapes and 
sizes. They are made of different kinds of wood, with 
deer-skin or monkey-skin tightly stretched over one or 
both ends. 

The effect of all these instruments of percussion played 
together is inspiring, and not at all displeasing. There is 
no harsh discordant clanging, as is so often the case in the 
music of primitive races. There are different ways of 
striking the drums and other instruments, and each of 
these ways has a distinctive name. The rhythm of the 
music of the Sword Dance differs entirely from that of 
the War Dance, and for each of these dances there are 
various different arrangements for the musical instru- 

Among their wind instruments is the engkrurai, which 
is constructed of a number of bamboo tubes fixed in an 
empty gourd, the long stem of which forms the mouth- 
piece. All the notes can be sounded together, and com- 
binations of notes or single notes can be produced from it 
by shutting or opening finger-holes placed laterally at the 
lower end of the bamboo tubes. There are generally 
seven bamboo tubes, six of them arranged in a circle 
round a larger and longer central one. All seven are 
furnished with a reed at the base, where they are inserted 
into the gourd. Holes are cut in the six outer pipes for 
fingering. The central pipe is an open or drone-pipe, the 
tone of which is intensified by fixing a loose cap of bamboo 


on the upper end. It is played by blowing air into the 
neck of the gourd, or by drawing in the breath, according 
to the effect desired. The volume of sound is not great, 
and the music produced is not unlike that of the Scotch 
bagpipes played very softly and very badly. 

They have a flute, or rather flageolet (ensuling), made 
of bamboo, with a plug at the mouth-hole. It is blown at 
the end, and there are three or four finger-holes, so that 
different notes can be produced. 

Another musical instrument is the serunai, or one- 
stringed fiddle. The body is half a gourd-shell, the 
mouth of which is covered up with a circular piece of soft 
wood, which is thin and close-fitting, the seams being 
cemented with wax. To this is fixed the stock, an arm 
about two feet long made of hard wood. The bow is a 
bent cane, and the string of the bow a split rattan about 
a foot in length. The string of this instrument is of the 
same material, and there is a peg at the end of the stock 
by which the string can be tightened. There is a movable 
bridge on the belly of the instrument for the string to 
rest upon. The body is sometimes made of half a cocoa- 
nut-sheU instead of a gourd. The string has to be wetted 
before it will sound, and then it gives forth a monotonous, 
mournful, dismal sound when the bow is rubbed 
against it. 

The Dyaks also have a four-stringed zither. The 
strings are made of split cane, and are stretched over a 
wooden box of soft wood. This instrument varies in 
shape and size, and is called the engkratong. 

The blikan is a rude guitar made of soft wood, with 
two strings of rattan and two pegs for tightening them. 
The strings are pressed with the tips of the fingers of the 
left hand to modify the tone, and the fingers of the right 


hand brush the strings. This instrument is about three 
feet long from end to end. 

From all that has been said, it will be seen that their 
musical instruments, though various, are very primitive, 
and that, though the Dyak is fond of music, his ideas on 
the subject are very crude. 


Love of travel — ■" The innocents abroad " — Gutta-hunting — Collecting 
canes — Hunting for edible birds'-nests — Camphor-working. 

THE Dyak is fond of travel, and, like other people, 
loves to visit foreign countries and to return and 
relate his adventures to his stay-at-home friends. 
He is always at home in the jungle, and in whatever 
country he may be collecting jungle produce, he is in his 
element. But this is by no means the case when he is 
in any foreign town. I have sometimes seen Dyaks in 
Singapore walking aimlessly about, quite out of touch 
with their surroundings. I think they are looked upon 
as fair game by the Chinese shopkeepers in Singapore, 
who have no scruples in taking advantage of their inno- 
cence, as the following incident will show. 

Some years ago I took some Dyaks from Banting on a 
visit to Singapore. I told them not to wander too far 
away from the house by themselves, as they might lose 
their way, and advised them to let me send someone with 
them when they wanted to buy anything, because they 
had no idea of the price of things, and would probably 
be swindled by the Chinese shopkeepers. For the first 
few days they were very careful to do as I told them, 
but afterwards, they considered themselves experienced 
travellers who could well manage to buy things for 



themselves. One day they came to me and said they 
had met such a nice Chinese shopkeeper, from whom one 
of them had bought a silk jacket. He was such a 
pleasant man, and his things were so cheap, that they 
had quite made up their minds to visit his shop again. 
I asked to see the silk jacket they had bought. It was 
brought to me carefully wrapped up in Chinese brown 
paper, and the parcel, being opened, was found to contain 
a cotton jacket ! When the purchase was made, the 
" very pleasant shopkeeper " kindly bundled it up for 
them, and this was the result. I told them that they 
had been taken in, and that there was no help for it, 
and that they must always be on their guard against the 
Chinese shopkeeper. But my words were wasted. They 
were quite positive that there was some mistake. It was 
quite absurd to imagine that such a nice Chinaman would 
think of swindHng them. All that had to be done was 
to go back to the shop and explain matters, and every- 
thing would be put right. They did go back to the shop, 
and returned with long faces. The nice Chinaman said 
he did not remember selling them a silk jacket ; they 
must have mistaken the shop. Was there anything he 
could sell them ? Needless to say, they bought nothing 
more from that shop, and returned " sadder and wiser 

Gutta-hunting is a favourite method of the Dyaks for 
earning money. A party of them go to the Malay Penin- 
sula, or Sumatra, or Java, and stay away for months or 
even years, and do not return until they have accumu- 
lated some hundreds of dollars. Before starting for such 
a journey they have to consult the omen birds, and if 
these are favourable, they start off \vith a httle money 
for their expenses, taking with them the few tools neces- 


sary for their work. They go to some town, and from it 
they make journeys into the surrounding jungle, return- 
ing after intervals of a month or more to sell the 
gutta they have succeeded in obtaining, and to buy 

The way in which the Dyak works gutta is this : — He 
wanders in the jungle till he finds a gutta-tree. He cuts 
it down, and rings it neatly all along the trunk and 
branches at intervals of a foot or two with a kind of 
hollow chisel that he brings with him for the purpose. 
Under each ring he puts a leaf made into a cup to catch 
the milk-white sap which slowly exudes. Into each of 
these he puts a Httle scraped bark of the tree. Then he 
collects all the sap, and boils it until the gutta is pre- 
cipitated at the bottom of the pot like a mass of dough. 
This is taken out while it is still soft, placed upon a 
board, and kneaded vigorously with the hands, and 
afterwards trodden with the bare feet. When it is 
almost too stiff to work, it is flattened out carefully, and 
then rolled into a wedge-shaped mass. A hole is punched 
through the thin end, through which a string is put to 
carry it, and it is ready for sale. This crude gutta has a 
mottled or marbled light brown appearance, which is 
given to it by the scraped bark which is mixed with it. 
The juice of the wild fig-tree (Ficus) or of the different 
species of bread-fruit trees (Artocarpus) is sometimes used 
to adulterate it. 

Sometimes, instead of working gutta, the Dyaks earn 
money by collecting canes, or rotan. A journey is made 
by a party of them to some jungle region where canes 
abound, and they collect the various marketable species 
of the genus Calamus. These canes are creeping plants 
the stems of which are covered with a hard flinty bark. 


The leaves are very thorny, and cUng to the trees and 
branches around. The older part of the cane has no 
leaves. It is very tough and strong, and in size about 
one-quarter of an inch in diameter. It is easily spUt, 
and used for the seats of chairs, etc. 

Sometimes the Dyaks join others in the collection of 
edible birds'-nests for the Chinese market. This is a 
great industry in those parts of Borneo where there are 
large hmestone caves, in which these nests are found. 
The caves are farmed out by Government, and whatever 
is obtained over the amount paid to Government is the 
profit of the workers. In Upper Sarawak certain tribes 
possess caves in which edible birds'-nests are found, and 
they divide the nests with the Government, 

Sometimes Dyaks who wish to earn a little extra money 
go and help these tribes in collecting birds'-nests, and get 
a share of the profits, or more often they go to small caves 
which belong to no one in particular and coUect birds'- 
nests for themselves, and then give a share of what they 
find to the Government. 

Some of the caves in which edible birds'-nests are found 
are very large. At the entrance the visitor is met by 
thousands of bats and swallows. The latter resemble the 
common swallow in appearance, but are only haK as large. 
These small swallows make the edible nests. Inside, the 
cave is often Hke an immense amphitheatre roofed hke a 
dome, the middle of which is over a thousand feet high. 
Thousands of nests are seen cUnging to the piUar-Uke 
rocky sides and roof. The most flimsy-looking stages of 
bamboos tied together with cane are the simple means 
employed by the natives to collect the nests from the 
seemingly most inaccessible positions. 

Though there are rifts in the sides through which come 


rays of light, still in parts the cave is so dark that lamps 
and torches have to be used. 

The Dyaks cHmb up the bamboo scaffolding, carrjang 
with them long cane ladders. These are fixed against the 
sides. Two men work on each ladder, which often hangs 
high up in the air. One carries a hght four-pronged spear 
about fifteen feet long, and near the prongs a hghted 
candle is fixed. Holding on to the ladder with one hand, 
he manages the spear with the other, and transfixes the 
nest. A shght push detaches it from the rock, and the 
spear is then held within reach of the second man, who 
detaches the nest and puts it into a basket tied to his 

The natives say that there are two species of swalloAVS 
that inhabit these caves. Those that take up their abode 
near the entrance of the cave build nests which are of no 
value. These birds often attack the other and smaller 
species which make the edible nests. The natives often 
destroy the nests of the larger swallows, so as to lessen 
their number. 

The best quahty nests are very translucent, and of a 
pale yellow colour, and mixed with very few feathers. 
These are nests that have been freshly made. If the 
nests are not removed, the birds make use of them again, 
so that by age and accession of dirt they become quite 
useless. The old nests are of no value, and the natives 
destroy them, so that the birds may build new ones in 
their place. 

The nests are collected four times a year. The natives 
say that the birds will lay four times a year if their nests 
are collected often, but if there are only two collections, 
then the birds only lay twice in the year. The best time 
for collecting nests is when the eggs are just laid. One 


would imagine that there would be a danger of over- 
collecting, and that the number of birds would diminish ; 
but the natives say there is no danger of this, as the birds 
carry on their breeding in nooks and crannies inaccessible 
to the collectors. 

Another jungle industry is the hunting for camphor. 
The kind the Dyaks obtain is known as " hard camphor," 
and is found in crystals in the hollow trunk of a tree. 
It is much more valuable than ordinary camphor. 

Before going out to collect camphor, the Dyaks hve in 
little huts in the jungle, and Hsten to the omens of birds, 
just as they would do before going out gutta-hunting. 
If the omens be favourable, then they start off, being 
careful not to use in conversation certain words which 
are considered " taboo," or mali. It is forbidden to use 
the word " camphor," or to mention the names of the 
implements used in working it, or of any races, such as 
the Chinese, Malays, or Europeans, because these will 
have something to do with the seUing of the camphor 
later on. If the spirits who own the camphor know what 
the men are after, or that their property is hkely to be 
taken away and sold to distant lands, they wiU carefuUy 
hide it, and the camphor workers wiU never be able to 
find it ; so the Dyaks have to use other expressions to 
express the articles whose names must not be mentioned. 
" Camphor " becomes " the thing that smells," and 
so on. 

The Dyaks, as weU as the Malays, beUeve that to be 
careless and to make use of any forbidden word is sure to 
result in failure to find camphor. Even if a tree con- 
taining camphor is felled, they say that the crystallized 
camphor wiU become hquid, and therefore useless. 

When a camphor-tree is found in the jungle it is chipped 


with an axe between two buttresses, and the wood smelt. 
If the wood smells very strongly of camphor, then it is 
likely that the trunk is hollow, and there is crystalUzed 
camphor-gum inside it. They tap the trunk to find out 
how far up this hollow extends. The tree is cut down at 
this place, and the stump remains standing. The wood 
is then spht down on each side. There is a good deal of 
uncertainty in the finding of camphor. If lucky, the 
workers may find the whole of the hollow trunk from four 
to seven feet deep full of crystallized camphor. On the 
other hand, the hole in the wood may be quite empty, 
except for a httle hquid gum at the bottom, which is 
useless. This crystaUized camphor fetches a good price 
in the Chinese market. The Chinese value it very highly 
for medicinal purposes, and as much as fifty dollars or 
more is given for a katty — a pound and a quarter — of it. 


The itinerant missionarj' — Visit to a Dyak house — Reception — 
Cooking — Servants — The meal — Teaching the Dyaks — Christians 
— Services — Prayer - houses — Offertory — Reception of the 
missionary — Dangers of sea travelUng during the north - east 
monsoon — My boat swamped — In the jungle — Losing my way — 
A Pyak's experience. 

AS the long Dyak village houses are often built at 
great distances from each other, the missionary 
who wishes to do effective work among the Dyaks 
must travel from house to house. Only by visiting 
distant villages, and living with the Dyaks as their guest, 
can the missionary learn to understand the people, and 
know their real iimer life. 

Let me try and describe a visit to some Dyak house, 
which no missionary has visited before, and where there 
is hope of breaking new ground. After travelling by 
boat or on foot I come to the house, and at the foot of the 
ladder leading up to it, one of my Dyak companions shouts 
out, " Jadi rumah .^" ("Is the house tabooed ?" — that is 
to say: "May we walk up?") The usual answer is 
" Jadi,^^ which implies that there is no reason against our 
entering the house. We climb up the ladder leading to 
the common hall and walk to the middle of the house, 
where the headman and the more important inhabitants 



have their rooms. {Some mmate spreads out mats for us, 
and we are asked to sit down. 

If I arrive at the house early in the day, most of the 
men will probably be out, and only women and children 
at home. These crowd round, standing at a respectful 
distance, and the wife or daughter of the headman asks 
us what we have come for, and invites us to stay in the 
house. She also clears away their own cooking from the 
fireplace, and my servant is asked to do whatever cooking 
is needed for the Tuan in their room. 

The cooking is generally a simple matter. The dinner 
generally consists of one course. My servant buys from 
the Dyaks a fowl — it would be libel to call it a " chicken "! 
— and cooks it, or else he falls back on tinned food, of 
which I always had a supply. 

During all the years I worked in Borneo I always had a 
Dyak servant, and I was fortunate in having for many 
years an excellent native named Ah Choy. He was born 
at Banting, and attended the Mission School there, and 
then went on to the school at Kuching. I joined the 
Mission Staff soon after he left school, and he worked for 
me as my general factotum — cook, housekeeper, boatman, 
personal attendant, etc. — for ten years or more. He was, 
what is unusual among the Dyaks, a good cook, and, in 
addition to this, was an excellent servant in many ways. 
He understood about boats, and I found his advice in 
all matters connected with travelling very trustworthy. 
He had a good idea of carpentering, and was able himself 
to fit up many little conveniences m my boat. Besides all 
this he was able to help me ui my missionary work, as he 
was a Christian and a communicant himself. I think 
that if a Missionary visits native houses to teach the 
Dyaks, and has as his attendant a " heathen Chuiee " or 



a " scoffing iviohammedan, " it must be a hindrance to his 
work. Ah Choy left me to work for his mother, who was 
a widow, but even after he had left my service he often 
accompanied me on my missionary travels as one of the 
boatmen, and I was always very glad to have him with 
me. He died, while quite a young man, durmg an epidemic 
of cholera. 

When my dinner is ready my servant tells me, and I 
go into the room to eat it. A mat is spread for me, and 
I sit cross-legged upon it. A few of the women of the 
house sometimes stay in the room while I have my meal, 
but never a crowd, and one is able to have one's food in 

After the evenmg meal I come out into the common 
hall, where the mats are spread and the people gathered 
together. The evening is the usual time for any dis- 
cussion, as the men are all back from their outdoor work 
then. I sit down on a mat, and both men and women 
are seated in a semicircle before me, and I try to teach 
them. Very simple things at first — telling them how 
God created the world, and made all things good, and 
how man of his own wickedness brought sin mto the 
world — very simple things of this kind, and these said 
over and over again, because it takes them time to take 
in new ideas. After two or three evenings spent in this 
way I leave the house, but visit it again after an interval 
of some weeks or months. 

In the nature of the Dyak there has grown up a crop 
of rank suf)erstitions which he cannot overcome easUy. 
He has his gods, but his conception of a God is quite 
different to that of the Christian. Innumerable hostile 
spirits he believes are around him, and these have to be 
dealt with, propitiated or outwitted. Though he has 


many ceremonies the Dyak has little religious spirit. 
The ceremonial rites which he practises — sacrifices, in- 
cantations, observance of omens — are magic charms to 
procure material benefits. Hence he has a difficulty in 
conceiving a spiritual religion. In the conversations one 
has in the Dyak house it is very usual to be asked such a 
question as this : " What material advantage shall I get 
if I become a Christian ? Shall I get better paddy-crops 
and become rich ? Shall I have better health ?" Another 
question which is often asked the Missionary is : " Must 
we give up our old customs ?" " Yes," says the Mis- 
sionary, " such of them as are founded upon falsehood 
or derogatory to the true God." Dreams are often dis- 
cussed, and numerous examples are brought forward of 
dreams which have come true. The Missionary acknow- 
ledges that God has spoken in ancient days to men in 
dreams, but maintains that the necessity for doing so no 
longer exists. 

Endless questions lead to endless explanations, and 
often the Missionary feels at the end of it all that little 
has been gained. But unpromising as the soil apparently 
is, the good seed does germinate. On the next visit the 
Missionary makes to that same house, he will probably 
find that some of his hearers have thought over what he 
has said, and are willing to learn more. And after a few 
visits some of the Dyaks are willing to put themselves 
under instruction, and these are taught by the native 
Catechist m charge of the district, and also by the Mis- 
sionary when he pays his visits. When they are suffi- 
ciently taught and wish to become Christians, they are 
baptized, and if they live good consistent Christian lives, 
and have been further instructed, later on they are brought 
to the Bishop to be confirmed. 


Happily the Gospel message, though profound in truth, 
is very simple in form. A plain narration of the life of 
Jesus Christ always produces a deep impression upon the 
Dyak. It is quite a new revelation to him, the Incar- 
nation of the Son of God, bringing him totally new 
thoughts and ideas of God. 

A great help to the work of the Missionary is the 
example of some man who has bravely emancipated 
himself from the burdensome traditions of his forefathers, 
and puts his whole trust in God. There are many such 
living in the Saribas district, and they were a great help 
to the Mission work there. That a Dyak can succeed in 
his labours, or even exist for any length of time without 
the observance of bird omens, or paying heed to dreams, 
or continually making sacrifices to gods and spirits, is to 
Dyaks in general such a remarkable thing that it rouses 
their minds to consider what Christianity means. To 
give up heathen practices, and to pay no heed to the 
omens of birds, is but a small part of the Christian religion, 
but it sets men thinking. It is a mark of freedom from 
the slavery of tyrannous superstition, and clears the 
ground for the foundation of a real Christian belief and 
trust m God. 

But it may be asked : " How are services provided for 
these Dyak Christians who live so far away from the 
Church and the Mission House ?" Well, we do the best 
we can for them. By the side of each Dyak house where 
there are Christians we build a small prayer-house. It is 
a very plain and simple building, and is the same in 
material and style as their own houses. The Christian 
Dyaks build it themselves. They go out into the jungle 
and get whatever is necessary for it. It is an oblong 
structure, raised a few feet off the ground on posts of 


wood. The walls and the roof are of palm-leaf thatch, 
work which the natives can do themselves ; the flooring 
is of laths of wood fastened down with cane or creepers. 
And there are no seats in the building — no forms or chairs 
— everyone sits on the floor, on which mats are spread. 
At one end we have a little table, which the natives 
make themselves, and that we use as an altar when we 
have a celebration of the Holy Communion. Altogether 
it is as primitive a house of worship as it is possible 
to imagine, but it is enough for necessary purposes, 
and is the best that can be done under the circum- 
stances. The building does not last long, but is easily 
rebuilt where there is a will to do so. To build per- 
manent churches would in most cases be useless waste, 
for the Dyaks are constantly moving their village houses 
to new sites. 

The services held in these little prayer-houses are very 
reverent. The offertory at the celebration of Holy Com- 
munion is worth}^ of remark. At our up-country churches 
and prayer-houses, we receive in kind as well as in money. 
Dyaks very seldom have money, but they have rice, and 
that is the " kind " in which the offertory is made. The 
rice is brought in little baskets or cups, and emptied into 
a large basket. Sometimes eggs or fruit are given. 
The Missionary gives an equivalent in money for the 
rice, etc., collected, and that money is given to the 
man who has charge of the offertory. This " church- 
warden " is some Christian living in the Dyak house 

The Missionary has a very large district in his charge, 
and travelling is so difficult that he cannot very often 
visit the different houses where there are Christians ; and 
the native teacher has also a large ground to cover, and 


cannot very often hold services at the different prayer- 
houses. So if we can find some man in the house who is 
a good Christian, and has been to school and can read, 
we ask him, in the absence of the Missionary and of the 
native teacher, to conduct services. On the Sunday 
morning in many Dyak houses, when neither the Mis- 
sionary nor the native teacher is there, one of themselves — 
some young man — will collect the Christians together, and 
they will go to the little prayer-house, and he will read 
the prayers, and they will offer up their petitions and 
thanksgivings to God. In many Dyak houses, however, 
though there are Christians, there is no one whom we can 
ask to read the prayers. They have to go without 
their services, sometimes for long intervals, until such 
time as the native teacher or the Missionary can visit 

Visiting the houses where there are Christians, and 
holding services in the little prayer-houses built by 
themselves, is pleasant and interesting work. The Dyaks 
are told beforehand when the Missionary is coming, and 
they look forward to his visit, and as many as are able 
leave their farm-huts where they may be staying so as to 
be at the house to welcome him. The Dyaks are 
civil, natural in manner, kindly disposed, and cheerful. 
They are also very intelligent, and I have had many 
interesting conversations on my Missionary visits. Ques- 
tions are often asked by the Dyaks showing that they 
have thought over something that has been said on a 
former visit ; and in the Saribas district, where so many 
Dyaks had learnt to read, it was no unusual thing 
to be asked to explain some particular passage in the 
Gospels, the Dyak translation of which many of them 


Travelling by river is safe enough except where there 
are sandbanks, and there a little extra care is necessary. 
But during the north-east monsoon — October to March — 
the sea is generally very rough, and travelling by sea in 
the kind of boat the Missionary uses is sometimes 
dangerous. He has to use a boat that draws very little 
water, because of the sand banks in the rivers, and such a 
boat is not suitable for the sea. I am thankful to say 
that during all the years I was in Borneo my boat was 
only swamped once. We have had mahy narrow escapes — 
the boat full of water over and over again, and two men 
baling out the water as fast as possible while the others 
were rowing. The boat I used in my travels was made of 
light wood, and the only part of it that was made of 
harder wood was the keel. Even if it were full of water, 
it would still float, and we could often row through 
the waves without anything worse than a thorough 

On the occasion when my boat was swamped I was 
returning from the capital, Kuching, where I had been 
Acting-Chaplain for some months, to my up-country 
station at Temudok on the Krian River. It was during 
the north-east monsoon, and the sea was very rough. 
After leaving the Kuching River we put in at Sampun, a 
little stream near. There we stayed seven days. Early 
every morning we put out to sea, but it was impossible 
to row through the waves, and we had to put back. Then 
we ran short of food ; we had no rice for the men. At the 
next flood-tide I told my boatmen to row up the Sampun 
stream, as I felt certain I should be able to buy rice from 
some people livuig there. After two hours' rowing we 
came to the hut of a Chinaman. He said he had only 
three gantangs of rice. (A gantang is a dry measure, and 


equal to about three-quarters of a peck.) I asked him 
to sell me all the rice he had. He was quite willing to do 
so, and said that if I would wait a day, he would have 
some paddy pounded, and be able to supply me with more 
rice. I said what he had would be sufficient, and I told 
my boatmen that whatever the weather was next day, we 
must put out to sea. 

Very early next morning we started. The sea was very 
rough, and to escape the breakers we went farther and 
farther away from land. I had my excellent servant, Ah 
Choy, with me, and he was steering, and I had a very 
good crew of Dyak boatmen. After some time Ah Choy 
said to me : 

" We are very far out, and can hardly see the land. 
Had we not better get nearer shore ?" 

The men were rowing as well as they could, but they 
were getting very tired, and we were making very little 

I told Ah Choy to bring the boat nearer shore, but as 
soon as we got into shallower water the waves were so 
great that it was evident the boat could not live through 

I asked Ah Choy to steer the boat straight for the 
shore, and I told the men to row as hard as they 
could, and as soon as they felt their oars touch bottom 
to jump out and pull the boat up the shore as fast as 
they could. They did exactly as I wished. The boat 
was dragged ashore, but several large waves beat 
into it, and everything was soaked. It had one or 
two hard bumps on the sand, and was split from end 
to end. 

We were not far from Kabong, a village at the mouth 
of the Krian River, and I, accompanied by one of my 


boatmen, walked along the beach to the Government Fort 
there. 'The clerk in charge, Ah Fook Cheyne, kindly 
supplied me with food and with sleeping things for 
the night. I sent some Malays to look after my 
boat, which they managed to bring to Kabong the 
next day. 

Whenever I have had to travel on foot I have always 
had with me Dyaks who knew the country, so there has 
been no danger of my losing my way. But it is remark- 
able how easily one can get lost in the jungle. I have 
sometimes gone off the path for no great distance, and 
have had some difficulty in finding my way back. At 
Banting one afternoon I was accompanied by two school- 
boys, and we went into the lowland jungle near the 
Mission Hill after some wood-pigeon. We followed the 
birds from one wild fig-tree to another, and managed to 
shoot a few, and then we tried to find our way back. 
After wandering about for some twenty minutes we came 
to a spot where a tree had been cut down, and a length of 
the trunk used evidently for a Dyak coffin. As someone 
had been buried a few days ago in the cemetery round the 
church, we guessed we could not be far from Banting Hill, 
on which the Mission House and Church stood. We tried 
to follow what we thought was the track made b}^ the 
people who had cut the tree down, but after wandering 
about for over half an hour, we found ourselves in the 
same spot again. 

We could see the sun through the trees, and one of the 
boys with me said : 

" When we sit on the seat on the brow of the hill facing 
the river we see the sun setting in front of us, so if we walk 
in the direction of the sun we are sure to come to some 
part of Banting Hill." 


It seemed a sensible suggestion. We had been walking 
in the opposite direction. We turned round and walked 
back, and sure enough we got to the fruit-trees on Banting 
Hill, and had no difficulty in finding our way to the 
Mission House. 

One day when I was at Sebetan I left the path which 
ran along the side of the river. I had with me three Dyak 
schoolboys, and we wandered about and could not find 
our way out of the jungle. One of the boys said, when 
we came to a small jungle-stream : 

"If we follow this stream it will lead us to the 

We did so, and soon found the path by the 

It will be noticed that on both these occasions I was 
with Dyak boys who helped me to find my way. I have 
noticed that older Dyaks seem to have a good idea of 
locality, and generally know in what direction the path 
they have left lies. 

It is, however, not an unknown thing for Dyaks to be 
lost in the jungle. A Dyak friend of mine in Sebetan told 
me that on one occasion he had been in the jungle all day 
collecting canes, and in the evening when he wanted to 
return he could not find his way out. He climbed up a 
tree in the hope of seeing the smoke of some Dyak house 
or farm hut, but saw no such thing. As it was growing 
dark, and there was no likelihood of his finding his 
way till next morning, he prepared to spend the 
night where he was. He climbed up a tree, and 
made himself as comfortable as possible among the 
branches, took off his waist-cloth, and tied himself to 
the tree, that he might not slip off when asleep, and 
spent an uncomfortable night up there. Next morning 


he had no difficulty in finding his way back to his 

The wonder to me is that Dyaks so seldom get lost in 
the jungle. When they are hunting wild pig they must 
often wander far from the path, and yet somehow they 
manage to find their way out of the jungle without any 


Sea Dyak stories — Ensera — Kana — The mouse-deer and the tortoise — 
Klieng — Kumang — Apai Saloi — The cunning of the mouse-deer — 
The mouse-deer and other animals who went out fishing — The 
mouse- deer, the deer, and the pig — Sea Dyak proverbs. 

THE Sea Dyaks possess many stories, legends, and 
fables handed down by tradition from ancient 
times. All these have been transmitted by word 
of mouth from generation to generation, as the Dyaks 
have no written language of their own. These tales may 
be roughly divided in two classes — those that are plainly 
told, and called ensera ; and those that are set in a peculiar 
rhythmical measure, and sung to a monotonous chant, 
and called kaifm. 

Among the former are a large number of stories corre- 
sponding to the adventures of Brer Rabbit, or our own 
tales illustrating the cunning of the fox. In the Dyak 
stories the mouse-deer and the tortoise — two of the 
smallest animals they know — are generally represented 
either acting in concert or individually, and their cunning 
is always more than a match against the strength of all 
other animals. The Dyaks also have many legends 
which give an account of the origin and reason for some 
of their religious beliefs and customs. These are no 
doubt purely Dyak, but the many tales related nowadays 



about Hajahs and their adventures are probably derived 
from Malay sources in more recent times. 

The exploits of the mythical heroes of the Dyaks are 
also related. The greatest hero is Klieng, who is not a 
god, but supposed to belong to this world of ours. He is 
not now visible to human eyes, but his help is often 
invoked in times of war, and offerings of food are often 
made to him. Tradition says that he had no father or 
mother, but was found in the knot of a tree by Ngelai, 
who brought him up as his brother. As he grew up, he 
developed a restless spirit, and would not apply himself 
to the regular Dyak pursuits. He was wayward and 
capricious, and would disappear for long periods, often 
being given up for dead by his sorrowing friends. Then 
he would suddenly reappear in his own home, to the 
surprise and joy of his friends. He is represented as 
handsome and brave, and always successful in expeditions 
against his enemies. He had a wonderful power of meta- 
morphosis, and, when necessary, could transform himseK 
into an animal or anything else. On one occasion he is 
said to have changed himseK into the fragment of a 
broken water-gourd, and Avas carried by Ngelai in his 
basket to the battle. The enemy were too powerful for 
them, and Ngelai and his friends were being defeated, when 
the basket was placed on the ground, and KUeng revealed 
himself in his true character of a great warrior, and in a 
very short time routed the enemy. 

KUeng married Kumang, the Dyak Venus, Many 
stories concerning them are set to native song. These 
kana are sometimes sung by some Dyak singer, who lies 
on a mat or sits on a swing in the dim hght of the covered 
veranda of the long Dyak house. His audience sit or he 
around and hsten to him, very often till the small hours 


of the morning. The incidents in a story thus sung are 
not many, but the Dyaks dehght in verbosity and amphfi- 
cation, and use a dozen similes where one would do, and 
love to repeat over and over again the description of the 
various characters in different words, with the double 
object of showing their command of language and to 
lengthen the story. 

They have many amusing tales told of Apai Saloi (the 
father of Saloi) — the Simple Simon of the Dyaks. He is 
represented as doing the most foolish things, and always 
outwitted by his enemy, Apai Samumang (the father of 
Samumang), who does not hesitate to take advantage of 
his stupidity. The following will give an idea of the kind 
of story related of Apai Saloi : — One day he was paddUng 
in his boat in the river, and his axe-head fell into the 
water. He made a notch in the side of the boat to mark 
the spot where the axe-head dropped into the water, and 
paddled home. " There will be plenty of time," he said, 
" for me to look for it to-morrow morning." He reached 
the landing-stage of his house, and pulled his boat up the 
bank. The next day he went to the boat and looked for 
his lost axe-head underneath the part of the boat where 
he saw the notch he had made the day before. He was 
very much surprised at not finding his lost axe-head ! 

But what seems to give the Dyaks most pleasure are 
tales about animals, especially those in which the cunning 
of the mouse-deer {ahal plandok) is displayed. The fol- 
lowing are well known among them, and I have myself 
often heard these related, with variations, by the Dyaks 
themselves. Very often, in traveUing by boat in Borneo, 
one has to wait for the turn of the tide, and the Dyak 
boatmen on these occasions often relate some of their 
old stories to each other to while away the time. 


The Story of the Mouse-Deer and other Animals 
who went out fishing. 

Once upon a time the Mouse-Deer, accompanied by 
many other animals, went on a fishing expedition. All 
day long they fished, and in the evening returned to the 
little hut that they had put up by the river-side, salted 
the fish that they had caught, and stored it up in their 
jars. They noticed that somehow or other their fish dis- 
appeared day by day, and the animals held a council to 
decide what it was best to do. After some discussion the 
Deer said he would stay behind while the others went out 
to fish, so that he might catch the thief. 

" I shaU be able to master him, whoever he is," said 
the Deer. "If he refuses to do what I wish, I shall soon 
punish him with my sharp horns." 

So the others went out fishing, leaving the Deer at 
home. Soon he heard the tramp of someone coming to 
the foot of the steps leading up into the hut, calling 
out : 

" Is anyone at home ?" 

" I am here," said the Deer. Looking out, he saw a 
great Giant, and his heart failed him. He wished he had 
asked one of his companions to stay at home with 

" I smeU some fish," said the Giant. " I want some, 
and I must have it. I am hungry. Let me have what I 

" It does not belong to me," said the Deer in great fear. 
" It belongs to the Pig, the Bear, the Tiger, and the 
Mouse-Deer. They would punish me severely if I gave 
any of it to you." 

" Don't talk to me in that way. If you do not let 


me have what I want, I will eat you up," said the 

The Deer was too much awed by his visitor to attack 
the Giant, so he let him eat the fish and take some away 
with him. 

When his companions returned, the Deer gave them 
his account of the Giant's visit. They blamed him for 
his cowardice, and the Wild Boar said he would keep 
watch the next day. 

" If the Giant comes," said he, "I will gore him with 
my tusks and trample him underfoot." 

But he fared no better than the Deer, for when he saw 
the Giant, who threatened to kill him if he refused to give 
him some fish, he was afraid, and let him take as much 
as he wanted. 

Great was the disgust of the others to find on their 
return that their fish had again been stolen. 

" Let me watch," said the Bear. " No Giant shall 
frighten me. I will hug him in my arms and scratch 
him with my sharp claws." 

So Bruin was left in charge the next day, while the 
others went out to fish. 

Soon he heard the Giant, who came to the foot of the 
steps and shouted : " Hullo ! who's there ?" 

" I am," said the Bear. " Who are you, and what 
do you want ?" 

" I can smell some nice fish, and I am hungry, and 
want some." 

" I cannot let you have any," said the Bear. " It does 
not belong to me." 

" Let me have some at once," said the Giant in a voice 
of thunder, " before I kiU and eat you." 

The Bear was too much frightened to interfere while 


the Giant ransacked the jars. When he had had enough, 
he bade the Bear " Good-bye " and went off. 

On the return of the other animals, the Tiger said he 
would put a stop to this state of things. He would stay 
at home the next day and keep watch. It would have 
to be a very strong Giant indeed that would dare to 
fight him. 

The Giant paid his visit as before, and when he found 
the Tiger at home, he said that he was hungry, and asked 
for some fish. At first the Tiger refused to give any to 
him, but when he saw his formidable enemy he was 
afraid, and let him have as much as he wanted. 

On their return again the animals found their fish had 
been stolen. 

Then the Mouse-Deer spoke. " I see," he said, " that 
it is no use depending on you others. You boast, but 
when the time comes for action, you have no courage. I 
will stay at home and secure this Giant that you speak of." 

When his companions had gone away the next morn- 
ing, the Mouse-Deer put a bandage round his forehead 
and lay down. 

Soon came the Giant, and shouted : " WTio's there V 

" Only me," said the Mouse-Deer, groaning with pain. 
" Come up, whoever you may be." 

The Giant cHmbed up the rickety steps, and saw the 
Mouse-Deer lying with his head bandaged. 

" What is the matter with you ?" asked the Giant. 

" I have a headache," was the answer. 

" Whatever has given you the headache ?" asked the 

" Can't you guess ?" said the Mouse-Deer. " It is the 
smell of this fish in these jars. It is so strong it is enough 
to make anyone iU. Don't you feel ill yourseK ?" 



" I think I do," said the Giant. " Cannot you give me 
some medicine ?" 

" I have no medicine with me," said the Mouse-Deer, 
" but I can bandage you, as I have done myself, and it 
is sure to do you good." 

" Thank you," said the Giant. "It is good of you to 
take the trouble to cure me." 

So the Giant lay down as he was bid, while the Mouse- 
Deer bandaged his head, and fastened the ends of the 
bandage to pegs which he drove in the ground under the 
open flooring of the hut. 

" Don't you feel a little pain in your ankles ?" anxiously 
suggested the Mouse-Deer. 

" I think I do," said the fooMsh Giant. " Suppose you 
bandage them, too." 

So the Mouse-Deer, chuckling to himself, bandaged 
his ankles, and made them fast to the floor of the 

" Do you not feel the pain in your legs ?" asked the 

" I think I do," was the fooHsh Giant's reply. 

So the Mouse-Deer bandaged his legs and made 
them secure, so that the Giant was quite unable to 

By this time the Giant began to feel uneasy, and trying 
to get up, and finding himself securely boimd, he struggled 
and roared in pain and anger. 

The Uttle Mouse-Deer sat before him and laughed, and 
said : 

" You were a match for the Deer, the Pig, the Bear, 
and the Tiger, but j^ou are defeated by me. Don't make 
so much noise, or I shall drive a peg through your temples 
and kill you." 


Just then the others returned from their fishing. Great 
was their joy to find their enemy securely bound. With 
cries of triumph they fell upon the Giant and killed 
him, and praised the Mouse-Deer for his cleverness in 
securing him. 

The Story of the Mouse-Deer, the Deer and 
THE Pig. 

A Mouse-Deer wandering in the jungle fell into a pit. 
He could not get out, so he waited patiently for some 
passer-by. Presently a Pig passed by the mouth of the 
pit. The Mouse-Deer called out to him, and he looked 
in and asked the Mouse-Deer what he was doing 

" Don't you know what is going to happen ? The sky 
is going to fall down, and everybody will be crushed to 
dust unless he takes shelter in a pit. If you want to save 
your hfe you had better jump in." 

The Pig jumped into the pit, and the Mouse-Deer got 
on his back, but he found he was not high enough to 
enable him to leap out. 

Next a Deer came along, and, seeing the two animals 
in the pit, asked them what they were doing there. 

The Mouse-Deer replied : " The sky is going to fall, 
and everyone will be crushed unless he hides in some 
hole. Jump in if you want to save your life.'" 

The Deer sprang in, and the Mouse-Deer made him 
stand on the back of the Pig ; then he himself got on the 
back of the Deer and jumped out of the pit, leaving the 
other two to their fate. 

The Deer and the Pig were very angry at being tricked 
in this way by such a small animal as the Mu use-Deer. 


They scratched the side of the pit until it sloped, and 
enabled them to get out ; then they followed the trail of 
the Mouse-Deer, and soon overtook him. 

The Mouse-Deer saw them coming, and climbed up a 
tree, from the boughs of which a large beehive was 

" Come down," said the Pig and Deer angrily. " You 
have deceived us, and we mean to kill you." 

"Deceived you V said the Mouse-Deer. "When did 
I deceive you, or do anything to deserve death ?" 

" Didn't you tell us that the sky was going to fall, 
and that if we did not hide ourselves in a pit we should 
be killed T 

" Oh yes," was the reply. " What I said was perfectly 
true, only I persuaded the King to postpone the disaster." 

" You need not try to put us off with any more lies. 
You must come down, for we mean to have your blood." 

" I cannot," said the Mouse-Deer, " because the King 
has asked me to watch his gong," pointing to the bee's- 

" Is that the King's gong ?" said the Deer. " I should 
like to strike it to hear what it sounds like." 

" So you may," said the Mouse-Deer, " only let me get 
down and go to some distance before you do so, as the 
noise would deafen me." 

So the Mouse-Deer sprang down and ran away. The 
Deer took a long stick and struck the bee's-nest, and the 
bees flew out angrily and stung him to death. 

The Pig, seeing what had happened, pursued the Mouse- 
Deer, determined to avenge the death of his friend. He 
found his enemy taking refuge on a tree round the trunk 
of which was a large python curled. 

" Come down," said the Pig, " and I will kill you." 


" I cannot come down to-day. I am set here to watch 
the King's girdle. Look at it," he said, pointing to the 
Python. " Is it not pretty ? I have never seen such a 
handsome waist-belt before." 

" It is beautiful," said the Pig. " How I should like 
to wear it for one day !" 

" So you may," said the Mouse-Deer, " but be careful, 
and do not spoil it." 

So the fooUsh Pig entangled himself in the folds of the 
Python, who soon crushed him to death and ate him for 
his dinner, and the clever Mouse-Deer escaped, having 
outwitted his enemies. 

Sea Dyak Proverbs. 

King Solomon, we are told, " spake three thousand 
proverbs," and many of these, as well as proverbs of an 
older date, have been handed down to us in a more or 
less authentic form. A translation of them into EngUsh 
is to be found in a well-known book. King Solomon was 
perhaps the first to make a collection of proverbs, but long 
before his time proverbs were in common use. It would 
seem that in every age and in every cUme the existence 
of language is accompanied by the existence of proverbs. 

The Sea Dyaks have their proverbs, and these remind 
us of the hnes : — 

" Turn, turn thy wheel ! The human race, 

Of every tongue, of every place, 
Caucasian, Coptic, or Malay, 

All that inhabit this great earth, 
Whatever be their rank or worth, 

Are kindred and allied by birth, 
And made of the same clay." 

It is impossible to imagine two nationalities so far 
removed from each other in every respect as the English 


and the Dyak, and yet, when we come to consider their 
proverbs, we find that they join hands and stand on 
common ground. Allowing for difference in environ- 
ment, and consequent difference of similes, the ideas 
expressed in many Dyak proverbs is precisely similar to 
that of some well known among the EngUsh. 

The three following examples, taken from among many 
others, which are often used by the Dyaks of the present 
day, will illustrate what I mean : — 

Eemaung di rumah, rawong di tanah ("A tiger in the 
house, [but] a frog in the field "). A hon in council, but 
a lamb in action. 

Kasih ka imhok, enda kasih ka manok ("To show kind- 
ness to the wild pigeon, [but] not to show kindness to the 
domestic fowl "). Charity begins at home. 

Lari ka ribut nemu ujan, lari ka sungkup nemu 
pendam (" Running from the hurricane, he encounters 
the rain ; running from a tombstone, he finds himself 
in a graveyard"). Out of the frying-pan into the 

Necessarily, a great deal in human life changes as the 
years roll on. Science grows, knowledge increases, 
society makes its way to new forms of organization, and 
the outward fashions of life pass away, and new ones take 
their place. All this is obvious and inevitable. And so 
there mubt of necessity be many points of difference 
between primitive races and races high up in the scale of 
civihzation. Yet in human life there are certain things 
which are always the same. Underneath what is variable 
in man there is that which never changes. Now and 
again we catch ghmpses of this as we read some ancient 
author, and find that across the gap of ages hved one 
who, thousands of years ago, in some respects, at least, 


thought as we think and felt as we feel. The radical 
fundamental thoughts and passions of mankind all over 
the world, in every age, are much the same ; and so, 
after consideration, it ought not to be a matter of sur- 
prise to find that some of the Sea Dyak proverbs convey 
precisely the same ideas as the proverbs of the English. 


Dyak fairy-tales and legends — I. Danjai and the Were-Tiger's 
Sister — II. The Story of Siu, who first taught the Dyaks to 
observe the omens of birds— III. Pulang Gana, and how he came 
to be worshipped as the god of the earth. 

THERE are many fairy-tales and legends known to 
the Sea Dyaks of the present day. As they have 
no written language, these have been handed down 
by word of mouth from generation to generation from 
ancient times. These tales and legends may be divided 
into two classes : — 

1. Those purely fabulous, and related as such, which 
are simply meant to interest and amuse, and in these 
respects resemble the fairy-tales famUiar to us all. 

2. And those believed to be perfectly true, and to 
record events which have actually taken place, which 
are the traditions respecting their gods and preternatural 
beings. These form, in fact, the mjrthology of the Dyaks. 
To this latter class belong the many and varied adven- 
tures of Klie7ig, the great warrior hero of ancient times, 
and his wife Kumang, the Dyak Venus, as well as the 
traditions relating to the gods believed in by the Dyaks 
of the present day. To these must be added certain 
stories which give a reason for some of the curious 
customs observed by the Dyaks. The three myths which 



follow belong to this latter class. The Dyak legends are 
fast beuig forgotten, and I had the greatest difficulty in 
obtaining the few here preserved. 

Danjai and the Were-Tiger's Sister. 

Once upon a time there lived a great Chief named 
Danjai. He was the head of one of the longest Dyak 
houses that were ever built. It was situated on a hUl 
in the midst of a large plantation of fruit trees. Danjai 
was said to be very rich indeed. He possessed much 
farming land, many fruit trees, many tapang trees, 
where the wild bees made their abode, and from which 
the sweet honey is obtained, and in his room there were 
many valuable jars of various kinds, and also a large 
number of brass vessels ; for the Dyaks convert their 
wealth into jars and brass ware to hand down to posterity. 
Every year he obtained a plentiful harvest of paddy,* 
much more than he and his family could consume, and 
he had always much paddy for sale, so much so that the 
news of his wealth travelled to distant lands, and many 
from afar off would come and buy paddy from him. 
Danjai also possessed many slaves, who were ready to 
help him in his work. 

All the people in his house had a very high opinion of 
his judgment, and were ready to obey his decisions, 
whenever he settled any of their disputes. So great 
indeed was his reputation for wisdom that men from 
distant villages would often consult him and ask his 
advice when in any difficulty. He had also great fame 
as a brave warrior, and during expeditions against the 
* Rice in the husk. 


enemy, he was the leader of the men of his own village 
and of many villages around, for all liked to follow such 
a brave man as Danjai, who was sure to lead them to 
victory. Over the fireplace in his veranda he had, hanging 
together in a bunch, the dried heads of the enemies whom 
he himself had killed. 

Now this man Danjai had a very pretty wife whom he 
had recently married, but the marriage feast had not 
been held, because he had not yet obtained a human 
head from the enemy as a token of his love for her : for 
this girl was of good birth and a Chief's daughter, and 
wanted the whole world to know, when they attended her 
marriage feast, what a brave man her husband was. 
One day Danjai said to his young wife : " I will hold a 
meeting of the Chiefs around, and tell them that we must 
aU get our war-boats ready, as I intend leading an expe- 
dition against the enemy. I should like to bring you 
a human head as a token of my love, so that you may not 
be ashamed of your husband. And as soon as I return, 
we will have the wedding feast." Though his wife was 
sorry that her husband intended leaving her, stiU she 
did not oppose his wishes, for she wished him to come 
back covered with glory. So a council of war was held, 
and Danjai told the assembled Chiefs what he intended 
to do, and it was decided that all should begin at once 
making war-boats, which were to be ready in two months' 

Assisted by his slaves and followers, Danjai had been at 
work at his boat for several weeks, and it was nearly 
finished. It was a beautiful boat made out of the trunk 
of one large tree, and Danjai was proud of his work. 
He was so anxious to finish his boat that one day he 
started very early in the morning, before his breakfast 


was ready, and he asked his wife to bring his food to 
him later on to the part of the jungle where he was 
working at his boat. 

Accordingly, Mrs. Danjai cooked the food and ate her 
own breakfast. Then she made up a small bundle of rice 
and also put together some fish and salt, and placed all 
in a little basket to take to her husband. She had never 
been out in the jungle by herself before, but she was not 
afraid, for her husband had told her the way, and she 
could hear the sound of his adze as he worked at his boat 
not very far off. She hung her basket over her left 
shoulder, and, holding her small knife in her right hand, 
went cheerfully on. Presently she came to the stump 
of a tree on which was placed a bunch of ripe sibau fruit. 
They looked so tempting that she could not help eating 
some of them, and as they were very nice, she put what 
remained in her basket, saying to herself : " Perhaps 
Danjai forgot to take these with him and left them here. 
I will take them to him myself ; he will no doubt be glad 
to eat these ripe fruits after his hard work." 

Now there was in this land a Were-Tiger, that was 
much feared by all who lived around. He had the 
appearance of a man, but at times would transform 
himself into a tiger, and then he would attack human 
beings and carry off their heads as trophies to his own 
house. But he never attacked any unless they had first 
done wrong by taking something which belonged to him. 
So this Were-Tiger would leave tempting fruit by the 
side of jungle paths, and on the stumps of trees, in the 
hope that some tired traveller would take and eat them. 
And if anyone ate such fruit, then he or she was doomed 
to be killed by him that same day. But all knew about 
him, and though he placed many tempting baits in all 


parts of the jungle, no one touched his fruit, for all feared 
the fate which awaited them if they did any such things. 
But Danjai's wife knew nothing about the Were-Tiger. 
No one had told her of him, and she had never been out 
before in the jungle by herself, and she had never been 
warned not to touch any fruit she might find lying 

" Oh, Danjai," she said, as soon as she met her hus- 
band, " I am afraid I am rather late. You must be 
very tired and hungry, working the whole morning at 
your boat without having had anything to eat. Never 
mind ! Here is your breakfast at last." And she handed 
the basket which contained his food to her husband. 

Now Danjai was really very hungry, so he was glad to 
see his food had arrived. He thanked his wife, and at 
once began to empty the basket. 

The first thing he saw was the ripe sihau fruit at the 
top, and he asked his wife where she got them from. She 
told him she had found them on the stump of a tree by 
the wayside, and she said she thought they had been left 
there by him. She added with a smile that they were 
very good, as she had eaten some herself. 

Then Danjai, brave man though he was, turned pale 
with fear and anxiety . 

" We must not linger here a moment," he said to his 
wife. " Hungry though I am, I will not eat my food 
here. We must both hurry home at once. You have 
taken and eaten fruit belonging to the Were-Tiger, so 
much feared by all. It is said that whoever touches his 
fruit will surely die a terrible death : and you are the first 
person I know who has done so ." 

Danjai hurriedly gathered together all his tools and 
told those that were with him of his trouble, and they all 

A DvAK Woman ix Everyday Costume 

She is wearing a necklace of small silver current coins, fastened together with silver links. The 
bangles are hollow, and of silver or brass, made separately, but worn several together on each wrist. 
The two favourite colours for petticoats are blue and red. The red petticoat, as in the picture, has 
often a design in white worked or woven into it. 


started and walked silently back. Danjai was wondering 
how he was to avert the fate which awaited his young 
wife. She was silent, because she saw her husband was 
troubled, and she was sorry that she had caused him 

As soon as they arrived at the house, Danjai sent for 
all the men round about and told them what had hap- 
pened, how his wife had taken and eaten the fruit of the 
Were-Tiger. He begged them all to help to shield her, 
for the Were-Tiger was sure to have his revenge, and 
come and take the head of his wife. 

So they all prepared themselves for the tiger's visit 
by sharpening their knives and spears. Some men placed 
themselves on the roof of the house, others in the veranda. 
The ladder leading up to the house was also guarded, 
and so were all parts of the house by which he was likely 
to force an entrance. As for Danjai's wife, they hid her 
beneath some mats and sheets in the room, and twelve 
brave men stood round her with their swords drawn, 
ready to save her life even at the cost of their own. 

Just before dark they heard the roar of the tiger in the 
distance. Though still a long way off, the sound was 
very terrible to hear, and the men all grasped their 
swords and spears firmly, for they knew the tiger would 
soon be upon them. 

Once more the tiger's roar sounded, nearer and clearer, 
and then they heard him crash through the leaf-thatch 
roof and fall into the room. There was a great commo- 
tion among the men, but though all tried to kill the 
animal, none could see him. Soon after they heard a 
roar of triumph from the tiger outside the house. They 
lifted up the mats and sheets which covered Danjai's 
wife, and there they saw her headless body ! The Were- 


Tiger had succeeded in his attack, and had carried off the 
head of his victim ! 

Loud was the weeping and great the lamentation over 
her dead body. She was so young to die ! And what 
death could be more terrible than hers whose head had 
been carried away by her murderer ! All in the house 
mourned her loss for seven days, and during that time 
the house was very quiet, as all lived in their separate 
rooms, and did not come out into the common veranda 
to do work or to talk to each other. 

The death of his wife grieved Danjai very much. But 
though his grief was great, his desire for revenge was 
greater still. 

Very early on the morning of the next day Danjai 
started after the tiger. The drops of blood which had 
fallen could plainly be seen on the ground, and he had 
no difficulty in finding out in what direction the tiger 
had gone. On and on he tracked the blood till he came 
to a cave at the foot of a high mountain. The sides of 
the cave were splashed with blood, so Danjai walked 
boldly in, determined to revenge the death of his wife. 
It was not very dark in the cave. In the distance he 
could see an opening, and he hurried towards it. 

He came out on the other side of the mountain, and 
saw a large plantation of sugar-cane and plantain-trees. 
Beyond this he saw a long Dyak house. 

" This," he said to himself, " is surely the abode of the 
Were-Tiger, and soon I shall have an opportunity of 
revenging the death of my wife." 

He planted two sticks one across the other in the ground 
to mark the opening in the mountain, so that he might 
not miss his way on his return, and then he boldly walked 
towards the house. 


He followed a path through the sugar-cane plantation 
— still tracking the drops of blood upon the ground — 
until he came to the ladder leading up to the house. He 
was so anxious to attack his wife's murderer that he did 
not pause to ask — as is the usual Dyak custom — whether 
he might walk up or not, but went straight on into the 
house. Men sitting in the veranda asked him, as he 
passed them, where he was going and what he wanted, 
but he did not answer them. His heart was heavy 
within him, thinking of his dead wife, and wondering if 
he would be able to accomplish his task, and whether 
he would succeed in leavmg the house as easily as he 
came in. But he was determined to avenge his wife's 
murder, and he would not shrink from any difficulties in 
the way. 

He stopped at the room of the headman of the house, 
and a girl asked him to sit down, and spread a mat for 
him. He did so, and the girl went into the room to 
fetch the brass vessel containmg the betel-nut ingredients 
which the Dyaks love to chew. As he sat down, he saw 
drops of blood on the fireplace, and, looking up, he noticed 
a fresh head, still dripping with blood, among the other 
skulls hanging there. He recognized it at a glance — it 
was the head of his loved wife ! 

The girl came out with the brass vessel of betel-nut, 
and said : " Help yourself, Danjai. We did not expect 
you to visit us so soon. Please excuse me for a while ; 
I have to attend to the cooking. But you will not be 
alone, for my brother will soon be back. He has only 
gone to the plantation to fetch some sugar-cane." 

So Danjai sat on the mat by himself, thinking what he 
was to do next, and what he was to say to his wife's 
murderer when he came in. Soon the Were-Tiger 


arrived, carrying on his shoulder a bundle of sugar- 

" I am very pleased to see you, Danjai," he said. 
" Would you like some sugar-cane ? If so, help your- 

Danjai was so sad thinking of his wife that he did not 
notice how curious it was that they should know his 
name when they had never seen him before. He did not 
feel at all inclined to eat sugar-cane, but lest his host 
should think he had come to kill, and to put him off 
his guard, he pretended to eat a little. He heard the 
Were-Tiger say to his sister in the room that she was to 
be sure to have enough food cooked, as Danjai would eat 
with them that evening. Then he left them and went to 
the river to bathe. 

The sister came out of the room, and spoke to Danjai, 
who was stUl sitting in the veranda, and asked him to 
come into the room, as she had something to say to 

" Yes, Danjai," she said to him in a kind tone of voice, 
" I know of your trouble and I am sorry for jou. How- 
ever, if you follow my advice, all will be well. You must 
be careful, for my brother is easUy put out, and has no 
scruples about killing any who displease him. Our own 
people here hate him, for he is so merciless ; but no one 
dares attack htm, for all fear him greatly. Now listen 
attentively to what I have to say. When I put out the 
plates of rice in the room presently, do not take the one 
he tells you to have : take any of the others, for the one 
he wishes you to have is sure to contain some poison. 
Later on, when you retire to rest, do not spend the night 
on the mat spread out for you, but sleep somewhere else, 
and put the wooden mortar for pounding paddy on the 


mat in your stead ; and so again on the second night, 
place the wooden mill for husking the paddy on your 
mat ; and on the third night a roll of the coarse matting 
used for treading paddy. If his three attempts to kill 
you are unsuccessful, then he will be in your power, and 
will do what you command. But even then there ia still 
danger, and you must not do anything rash, but ask my 
advice again later on. But go outside now into the 
veranda, for I think I hear my brother returning from 
his bath. I must make haste and put out the food for you 
all to eat." 

Soon the Were-Tiger came in, and, sitting on the mat 
by Danjai. asked him the news and how matters were in 
his country. Danjai answered little, for he was very 
sad ; besides, his host always laughed at him whenever 
he spoke. The fact was that he was amused at the idea 
of the man whose wife he had killed sitting in his 
veranda and talking to him in a friendly way. 

The sister came out of the room and asked them in to 
have their meal. All happened as she said it would. 
Danjai remembered her advice, and did not take the 
plate of rice his host offered him. But he was too sad 
to eat much. 

In the evening Danjai and the Were-Tiger sat by 
a fire in the veranda. Over this fire hung several 
human heads. The tears came into Danjai 's eyes as 
he sat there and saw the head of his dear wife being 
scorched by the fire. He felt inclined there and then to 
grasp his sword and attack her murderer ; but he re- 
strained himself, remembering the advice of the Tiger's 

The Were-Tiger said to him with a nasty laugh : " What 

is troubling you that you should weep ?" 



" I am not troubled about anything," said Danjai ; '' but 
the smoke of the fire is too much for my eyes, and it makes 
them water and feel sore." 

" If so," said his host, " let us put out the fire and retire 
to rest, as it is very late." 

Two mats were spread out for them, one on each side 
of the fireplace, and they lay down to sleep. But Danjai 
kept awake, and when his companion was asleep, he rose 
and placed the wooden mortar for pounding paddy on 
his mat, and covered it over with a sheet ; and he himself 
retired to a safe place, as he was advised to do by the 
Tiger's sister. He watched to see what would happen, 
and he was not disappointed. Not long after, he saw 
the Were-Tiger wake up and fetch a sword, and walk 
up to the place where he was supposed to be asleep. 
With the sword he made two or three vicious cuts at the 
wooden mortar, and said : 

" Now, Danjai, this will settle you. You will not think 
of revenging 3'^ourself on me any more." 

Then Danjai cried out from where he was : " What is 
the matter ? What are you doing ?" 

" Oh, Danjai ! Is that you ?" said his host. " I did 
not mean to hurt you. I had a bad dream, and I some- 
times walk in my sleep. How lucky it is you were not 
lying on the mat ! I should have certainlj^ killed you, 
and I should never have forgiven myself for doing so. 
Please understand I meant no harm to you, and let us 
lie down to rest again." 

On the two following nights the Were-Tiger attempted 
to kill Danjai, but failed each time, because, following 
the advice given him, Danjai placed first the wooden mill 
for husking the paddy on his mat, and next a roll of 
coarse mattmg used for treading paddy. His host 


made the same excuse for his strange behaviour each 

On the morning of the fourth day, after the Were-Tiger 
had left tlie house to see whether any fish had been caught 
in his fish-trap, his sister asked Danjai to come into the 
room, as she had something to say to him before he left 
to return home. 

" Now, Danjai," she said, " as I told you before, since 
my brother has not been able to kill you these three days, 
he is in your power. After breakfast ask him to accom- 
pany you and show you the way back to your country. 
When you have both come to the farther end of the 
sugar-cane plantation, beg him to sit down for a little 
while, and say you would like to eat some sugar-cane 
before you leave him and go on your journey alone. 
When he gives you the sugar-cane, ask him to lend you 
his sword, giving as an excuse that yours is not sharp 
enough for peeling the sugar-cane, or that it is stuck 
fast in its sheath and cannot be drawn. When he hands 
you his sword, you must attack him with it and kill him. 
My brother is invulnerable to any other sword but his 
own. When you have killed him, cut off his head and 
bring it to me, and I wUl give you your wife's head in 
exchange for it." 

A few minutes after this conversation the Were-Tiger 
returned with a basket full of fish. Some of these were 
soon cooked, and they sat down to breakfast. 

Soon after they had eaten, Danjai told his host that 
he must be returning to his own country, and asked him 
to accompany him and show him his way back. So they 
started together and walked through the sugar-cane 

Just as they came near the end of it, Danjai begged his 


companion to stop. He said he would like to have some 
sugar-cane before going on. 

" I am sorry I did not offer you any," said the Were- 
Tiger ; " it was very forgetful of me. Never mind, I will 
at once cut down some sugar-cane for us." 

When he had brought the sugar-cane and had finished 
peeling the piece he wanted for himself, Danjai said to 
him : 

'' Please lend me your sword, for mine is stuck fast in 
its sheath, and I camiot draw it out." 

The Were-Tiger, suspecting nothing, handed the sword 
to him, and Danjai began peeling his sugar-cane. 

Just then the Were-Tiger turned round to look at his 
house, and Danjai, seizing his opportunity, gave him a 
blow with the sword and killed him. Then he cut off 
the head and carried it back with him to the house he 
had just left. 

When he came near, he saw the sister watching for 
his return, and standing at the top of the ladder leading 
up to the house. He followed her into the house, and 
gave her the head of her brother. 

" You ought to be quite satisfied now, Danjai," she 
said, " for you have taken your revenge for the death of 
your wife. I want you to promise me certain things before 
you go. First of all, you must not let an^^body know 
that you have killed my brother. Next, on your return, 
you must go on the warpath and bring back to me the 
head of a woman, to enable me to put away the mourning 
of myself and my relatives for the death of my brother. 
And then I hope you wUl take me with you as your wife. 
And I give j^ou now some locks of my hair, to be used as 
a charm to make you invisible to the enemy, when you are 
on the warpath. Lastly, I advise you and your people 


never to eat or to take away any fruit you may find 
lying about in the jungle, on the stump of a tree, or on a 
rock, without knowing for certain who put it there and 
to whom it belongs, or making sure that it has fallen 
from some tree near. This must be remembered from 
generation to generation. Whoever disobeys this advice 
will be punished by death. You may now have the 
head of your wife to take back to your country." 

As she finished speaking, she handed him his wife's 
head, and Danjai started off at once, for he was anxious 
to get back. 

He reached his house late that same evening. All his 
friends were glad to see him come back safe and sound. 
They had given up all hope of seeing him again. They 
were also pleased to see he had been successful in bringing 
back the head of his dead wife. 

Soon after Danjai's return from the Were-Tiger's 
country, he gathered all his followers together and told 
them that he intended going on the warpath. As soon 
as they were able to get everything ready, they started 
for the enem3^'s country. They were very successful, and 
succeeded in taking many heads ; but Danjai, protected 
as he was by the charm which he had received from the 
Were-Tiger's sister, was more successful than the others. 
They returned with much rejoicuig, and a great feast 
was held in honour of their victory. The human heads 
were placed on a costly dish, and the women carried 
them into the house with dancing and singing. 

A few days after, Danjai started to fulfil his promise to 
the Were-Tiger's sister. He brought her back with him 
as his wife, and they lived very happily together for 
many years. 

This story explains why the Dyaks, even at the present 


day, dare not eat any fruit they may find lying on the 
stump of a tree, or on a rock in the jungle. They fear 
that evil will happen to them as it did to Danjai's wife. 


The Story of Siu, who first Taught the Dyaks to 

Plant Paddy and to Observe the Omens 

OF Birds. 

Many thousands of years ago, before the paddy-plant 
was known, the Dyaks lived on tapioca, yams, potatoes, 
and such fruit as they could procure. It was not till Siu 
taught them how to plant paddy that such a thing as rice 
was known. The story of how he came to learn of the 
existence of this important article of food, and how he 
and his son Seragunting introduced it among their people, 
is set forth in the following pages. 

Siu was the son of a great Dyak Chief. His father 
died when he was quite a child, and at the time this story 
begins he lived with his mother, and was the head of a 
long Dyak house in which lived some three hundred 
families. He was strong and active, and handsome in 
appearance, and there was no one in the countr}^ round 
equal to hmi either in strength or comeliness. When 
ready to go on the warpath, he was the admiration of all 
the Dyak damsels. On these occasions he appeared in 
a many-coloured waist-cloth, twelve fathoms in length, 
wound round and round his body. On his head he wore 
a plaited rattan band, in which were stuck some long 
feathers of the hornbill. His coat was woven of threads 
cf bright colours. On each well-shaped arm was an 
armlet of ivory. To his belt were fastened his sword and 


the many charms and amulets that he possessed. With 
his spear in his right hand and his shield on his left arm , 
he presented a splendid type of a Dyak warrior. But it 
is not of Siu's bravery nor of his deeds of valour against 
the enemy that this tale relates. It tells only of an ad- 
venture which ended in his discovery of paddy. 

He proposed to the young men of his house that they 
should take their blowpipes with them and go into the 
jungle to shoot birds. So one morning they all started 
early. Each man had with him his bundle of food for 
the day, and each went a different way, as they wished 
to see, on returning in the evening, who would be the 
most successful of them all. 

Siu went towards a mountain not far from his house, 
and wandered about the whole morning in the jungle, 
but, strange to say, he did not see any bird, nor did he 
meet with anj^ animal. Everything was very quiet and 
still. Worn out with fatigue, he sat down to rest under 
a large tree, and, feeling hungry, he ate some of the food 
he had brought with him. It was now long past midday, 
and he had not been able to kill a single bird ! Surely 
none of the others could be so unfortunate as he ! Deter- 
mined not to be beaten by the others, after a short rest 
he started again, and wandered on in quest of birds. 
The sun had gone half-way down in the western heaven, 
and Siu was begmning to lose heart, when suddenly he 
heard not far off the sound of birds. Hurrymg in that 
direction, he came to a wild fig-tree covered with ripe 
fruit, which a large number of birds were busy eating. 
Never before had he seen such a sight ! On this one 
tree the whole feathered population of the forest seemed 
to have assembled together ! Looking more carefully, 
he was surprised to see that the different kinds of birds 


were not all intermingled together as is usually the case, 
but each species was apart from the others. He saw a 
large flock of wild pigeons on one branch, and next to 
them were the parrots, all feeding together, but keeping 
distinct from them. Upon the same tree there were 
hornbills, woodpeckers, wild pigeons, and all the different 
kinds of birds he had ever seen. 

Siu hid himself under the thick leaves of a shrub 
growing near, very much pleased at his luck, and, taking 
a poisoned dart, he placed it in his blow-pipe, and shot 
it out. He had aimed at one bird in a particular flock, 
and hit it. But that bird was not the only one that fell 
dead at his feet. To his astonishment, he saw that many 
of the other birds near it were killed also. Again he 
shot out a dart, and again the same thing happened. In 
a very short time Siu had killed as many birds as he could 
carry. As the little basket in which he had brought his 
food was too small to hold them all, he set to work and 
made a coarse basket with the bark of a pendok tree 
growing near. Then he put his load on his back and 
started to return home, glad that he had been so 

He tried to return the same way bj^ which he had 
come, but as he had not taken the precaution to cut 
marks in the trees he passed, he very soon found himself 
in difficulties. He wandered about, sometimes passing 
by some large tree which he seemed to remember seeing 
in the morning. He climbed up a steep hill and went 
several mUes through a large forest, but did not find the 
jungle path which he had followed early in the day. 
It was beginning to grow dusk and the sun had nearly 

" I must hurry on," said Siu to himself, " in the hope 

A Dyak using a Wooden Blow-pipe 

He is seated on the ground wiih his blow-pipe held in position to his mouth. He is just in the act 
of blowing out one of his poisoned darts, some of which are lying on ihe ground in front of him. Tc 
his waist is fastened the bamboo receptacle in which the darts are kept. 


of finding some house where I can get food and shelter. 
Once it is dark I shall be forced to spend the night in the 

Coming to a part of the jungle which had lately been 
a garden, he thought there must be a path from it 
leading to some house, so he began to walk round it. 
Soon he found an old disused path, which he fol- 
lowed. By this time it was quite dark, and Siu made 
haste to reach the Dyak house which he felt sure 
was not very far off. He came to a well, and near at 
hand he saw the lights and heard the usual sounds of 
a Dyak house. He was glad to think that he would 
not have to spend the night in the jungle, but would be 
able to get food and shelter at the house. He stopped 
to have a bath, and hid the birds he was carrying and 
his blow-pipe and quiver in the brushwood near the well, 
hoping to take them with him when he started to return 
the next morning. 

As he approached the house, he could hear the voices 
of the people there. When he came to the bottom of the 
ladder leading up to the house, he shouted : " Oh, you 
people in the house, will you allow a stranger to walk 
up ?" At once there was dead silence in the house. No 
one answered. Again Siu asked the same question, and 
after a pause a voice answered, " Yes ; come up !" 

He walked up into the house. To his surprise he saw 
no one in the open veranda in front of the different rooms. 
That part of a Dyak house, usually so crowded, was quite 
empty. Nor did he hear the voices of people talking in 
any of the rooms. All was silent. Even the person who 
answered him was not there to receive him. 

He saw a dim light in the veranda further on, in the 
middle of the house, and walked towards it, wondering 


the while what could have happened to all the people in 
the house, for not long before he had heard many voices. 

" This seems to be a strange house," he said to him- 
self. " When I was bathing, and when I walked up to 
the house, it seemed to be well inhabited, but now that I 
come in, I see no one and hear no voice." 

When Siu reached the light he sat down on a mat. 
Presently he heard a woman's voice in the room sa}^ : 
" Sit down, Siu ; I will bring out the pinang* and sireh'f 
to you." 

Siu was very pleased to hear a human voice. Soon a 
young and remarkably beautiful girl came out of the room 
with the chewing mgredients, which she placed before 

" Here you are at last, Siu," she said ; " I expected you 
would come earlier. How is it you are so late ?" 

Siu explained that he had stopped at the well to have a 
bath, as he was hot and tired. 

" You must be very hungry," said the girl ; " wait a 
moment while I prepare some food. After you have 
eaten, we can have our talk together." 

When Siu was left to himself, he wondered what it all 
meant. Here was a long Dyak house, built for more than 
a hundred families to live in, and yet it seemed quite 
deserted. The only person in it appeared to be the 
beautiful girl who was cooking his food for him. Again, 
he was surprised that she knew his name and expected 
him that day. 

" Come in, Siu," said the voice from the room ; " your 
food is ready." 

* Pinang, betel-nut. 

t Sireh, a kind of pepjer-leaf which the Dyaks are fond of eating 
with betel-nut. 


Sill was very hungry, and went in at once, and sat down 
to eat his dinner. 

When they had done eating, she cleared away the plates 
and put things back into their places and tidied the room . 
Then she spread out a new mat for liim. and brouglir out 
the pinang and sireh. and bade him be seated, as she 
wished to have a chat with him. 

Siu had many questions to ask. and as soon as they 
were both seated, he began : — 

" Wliy are you all alone in this house ? This is a long 
house, and many families must live in it. Where are the 
others ? Why is everything so silent now ? I am sure I 
heard voices before I entered the house ; but now I hear 
no sound.' 

*' Do not let ns talk about this house or the people in it 
for the present. I would much rather talk of other 
matters. Tell me of your own people, and what news you 
bring from yom* eoimtry." 

" There is no news to give you." Siu replied. " We 
have been rather badly oS for food, as our potatoes 
and yams did not turn out so well this year as we 

" Tell me what made you come in this direction, and 
how it was you found out this house."' 

" While I was hunting in the jungle to-day I lost my 
way. After wandering about a long time, I found a path 
which I followed and came to this house. It was kind 
of you to take me in and give me food. If I had not 
found this house. I a". ould have been lost in the jungle. 
To-morrow morning you must show me the way to my 
country, and also I must beg of you some food for 
my journey back. My mother is sure to be anxious 
about me. She is left all alone now that I am away. 


My father died a long time ago, and I am her only 

" Do not go away as soon as to-morrow morning. Stay 
here a few days at any rate." 

At first Siu would not consent, but she spoke so nicely 
to him that she succeeded in persuading him to stay there 
at least a week. Then he went out to the veranda, and 
she brought out a mat for him to sleep on and a sheet to 
cover himself with. As Siu was very tired, he soon fell 
sound asleep, and did not wake up till late on the follow- 
ing morning. 

He saw some little children playing about the next day, 
but he did not see any grown-up people. He went into 
the room to have his morning meal, but saw no one there, 
except the girl he had seen the evening before. He felt 
very much inclined to ask her again where the people of 
the house were, but he did not do so, as she did not seem 
inclined to speak about them. 

Now though Siu knew it not, this was the house of the 
great Singalang Burong, the Ruler of the Spirit-World. 
He was able to metamorphose himself and his followers 
into any form. When going forth on an expedition 
against the enemy, he would transform himself and his 
followers into birds, so that they might travel more 
quickly. Over the high trees of the jungle, over the 
broad rivers, sometimes even across the sea, Singalang 
Burong and his flock would fly. There was no trouble 
about food, for in the forests there were always some wild 
trees in fruit, and, while assuming the form of birds, they 
lived on the food of birds. In his own house and among 
his own people, Singalang Burong appeared as a man. 
He had eight daughters, and the girl who was cooking 
food for Siu was the youngest of them. 


The reason why the people of the house were so quiet, 
and did not make their appearance, was because they 
were all in mourning for many of their relatives who had 
been killed some time back. Only the women and chil- 
dren were at home, because that same morning all the 
men had gone forth to make a raid upon some neighbour- 
ing tribe, so that they might bring home some human 
heads to enable them to end their mourning. For it was 
the custom that the people of a house continued to be in 
mourning for dead relatives until one or more human 
heads were brought to the house. Then a feast was held, 
and all mourning was at an end. 

After Siu had been in the house seven days, he thought 
he ought to think of returning to his own people. By 
this time he was very much in love with the girl who had 
been so kind to him, and he wished above all things 
to marry her, and take her back with him to his own 

" I have been here a whole week," he said to her, " and 
though you have not told me your name, still I seem to 
know you very well. I have a request to make, and I 
hope you will not be angry at what I say." 

" Speak on ; I promise I will not be angry whatever you 
may say." 

" I have learnt to love you very much," said Siu, " and 
I would like to marry you if you will consent, so that I 
shall not leave you, but take you with me, when I return 
to my own land. Also I wish you to tell me your name, 
and why this house is so silent, and where all the people 
belonging to it are." 

" I will consent to marry you, for I also love you. But 
you must first promise me certain things. In the first 
place, you must not tell your people of this house, and 


what you have seen here. Then also you must promise 
faithfully never to hurt a bird or even to hold one in 
your hands. If ever you break this promise, then we 
cease to be man and wife. And, of course, you must 
never kill a bird, because, if you do so, I shall not only 
leave you, but revenge myself on you. Do you promise 
these things ?" 

"Yes," said Siu ; "I promise not to speak of what I 
have seen here until you give me leave to do so. And as 
you do not wish it, I wiU never touch or handle a bird, 
and certainly never kill one." 

" Now that you have promised what I wish, I will tell 
you about myself and the people of this house," said the 
maiden. " My name is Endu-Sudan-Galinggam-Tinchin- 
Mas (the girl Sudan painted like a gold ring), but my 
people call me by my pet names, Bunsu Burong (the 
youngest of the bird family), and Bunsu Katupong (the 
youngest of the Katujwng family). This house, as you 
noticed, seems very empty. The reason is that a month 
ago many of our people were killed by some of the people 
of your house, and we are all still in mourning for them. 
As you know, when our relatives have lately died, we stay 
silent in our rooms, and do not come out to receive 
visitors or to entertain them. Why are your people so 
cruel to us ? They often kill our men when they go out 
fishing or hunting. On the morning of the day on which 
you arrived, all the men of this house went on the war- 
path, so as to obtain the heads of some of the enemy to 
enable us to put away our mourning. With us as with 
you, it is necessary that one or more human heads be 
brought into the house before the inmates can give up 
sorrowing for their dead relatives and friends. You see 
us now in the form of human bemgs, but all the people 


in this house are able to transform themselves into birds. 
My father, Singalang Burong, is the head of this house. 
I am the youngest of eight sisters ; we have no brother 
alive. Our only brother died not long ago, and we are 
stUl in mourning for him, and that is the reason why my 
sisters did not come out to greet you." 

Siu heard with surprise all she had to say. He said to 
himself that it was lucky he did not bring up to the house 
the basket of birds which he had killed in the jungle, and 
that he had hidden them with his blow-pipe and quiver 
containing poisoned darts m the brushwood near the 
well. He determined to say nothing about the matter, 
as probably some of her friends or relations were among 
the birds that were killed by him. 

So Siu married Bunsu Burong, and continued to live in 
the house for several weeks. 

One day he said to his wife : " I have been here a long 
time. My people must surely be wondering where I am, 
and whether I am stUl alive. My mother, too, must be 
very anxious about me. I should like to return to my 
people, and I want you to accompany me. My mother 
and my friends are sure to welcome you as my wife." 

" Oh yes, I will gladly accompany you back to your 
home. But you must remember and say nothing of the 
things you have seen in this house. When shall we 
start ?" 

" We can start early to-morrow morning, soon after 
breakfast," answered Siu. 

Thej^ started early the next day, taking with them food 
enough for four days, as they expected the journey would 
last as long as that. Siu's wife seemed to know the way, 
and after journeying for three days, they came to the 
stream near the house, and they stopped to have a bath. 


Some of the children of the house saw them there, and 
ran up to the house, and said : " Siu has come back, and 
with him is a beautiful woman, who seems to be his wife." 

Some of the older people checked the children, saying : 
" It carmot be Siu ; he has been dead for a long time. 
Don't mention his name, for if his mother hears you talk 
of him, it will make her very unhappy." 

But the children persisted in saying that it was indeed 
Siu that they had seen. Just then Siu and his wife 
appeared and walked up to the house. 

Siu said to his wife : " The door before which I hang up 
my sword is the door of my room. Walk straight in. 
You will find my mother there, and she will be sure to 
gladly welcome you as her daughter-in-law." 

When they came into the house, all the mmates rushed 
out to meet them, and to congratulate Siu on his safe 
return. They asked him many questions : where had 
he been living all this time ? how he came to be married ? 
and what was the name of his wife's country ? But Siu 
answered little, as he remembered the promise he had 
made to his wife, that he would not speak of what he had 
seen in her house. 

When they reached the door of his room, Siu hung up 
his sword, and his wife went into the room. But she did 
not see his mother, as she was ill, and was lying in her 
mosquito-curtain. Then Siu followed his wife into the 
room, and called out : " Mother, where are you ? Here 
is your son Siu come back !" 

But his mother made no answer, so he opened her 
curtain, and saw her lying down, covered up with a 
blanket. She had been so troubled at the thought that 
her son was dead, that she had refused to eat, and had 
become quite ill. 


She would not believe that her son had really returned 
alive, and she said : " Do not try to deceive me ; my son 
Siu is dead." 

" I am indeed your son Siu, and I have comeback alive 
and well !" 

" No,"' she replied, " my son Siu is dead. Leave me 
alone ; I have not long to live. Let me die in peace, and 
follow my son to the grave." 

Siu then went to the box in which his clothes were 
kept and put on the thmgs that his mother had often 
seen him wear. Then he went to her again, and said : 
" Even if you do not believe that I am your son, at any 
rate you might turn round and look at me, to make sure 
that I am not your son." 

Then she looked at him, and saw that it was indeed 
her son. She was so pleased at his return that she soon 
recovered from her illness, which was really caused by her 
sorrow and refusal to eat. Siu told his mother of his 
marriage, and she welcomed his wife with joy. 

The women all crowded round Siu's wife, and asked her 
what her name was. She answered : " Endu-Sudan- 
Oalinggam-TiTichin-Mas " (The girl Sudan painted like a 
gold ring). They looked at her in surprise ; they had 
never heard of such a name before. 

" Where do you come from ?" they asked. " What is 
the name of your country ?" 

" Nanga Niga Behurong Bebali nyadi Tehuyong Ma- 
hong " (The mouth of the hidden Niga stream changed 
into an empty shell),* was the reply. 

They were astonished at her answer. They had never 
heard of such a country. They asked her of her people, 

* The Dyaks are fond of rhyming names, which often have no 
special meaning. 



but she would not say anything more of herself or speak 
about her people. 

Everybod}'' admired the great beauty of Siu's wife. 
No more questions were asked of her, as she seemed un- 
willing to answer. Her parentage remained a mystery. 

In process of time Siu's wife bore him a son whom they 
named Seragunting. He was a fine child, and as befitted 
the grandson of Singalang Burong, he grew big and 
strong in a miraculously short time, and when he was 
three years old, he was taller and stronger than others 
four times his age. 

One day, as Seragunting was playmg with the other 
boys, a man brought up some birds which he had caught 
in a trap. As he walked through the house he passed 
Siu, who was sitting in the open veranda. Siu, forgetting 
the promise he had made to his wife, asked him to show 
him the birds, and he took one in his hands and stroked 
it. His wife was sitting not far off, and saw him hold the 
bird, and was very much vexed that he had broken his 
promise to her. 

She got up and returned to her room. Siu came in and 
noticed that she was troubled, and asked her what was 
wrong. She said that she was only tired. 

She said to herself : " My husband has broken his word 
to me. He has done the thing he promised me he would 
never do. I told him he was never to hold a bird in his 
hands, and that if he did such a thing, I would leave him. 
I cannot stay here in this house any longer. I must 
return to the house of my father, Singalang Burong." 

She took the water-vessels in her hands, and went out 
as if to fetch water. But when she came to the well, she 
placed the water-vessels on the ground and disappeared 
in the jungle. 


In the meantime Seragunting, tired with his play, came 
back in search of his mother. She was very fond indeed 
of him, and he expected her to come to him as soon as 
he called out to her. But he was disappointed. No one 
answered his call, and when he looked in the room she 
was not there. He asked his father where his mother 
was, and he told him that she had just gone to the well 
to fetch water, and would soon be back. 

But hour after hour passed, and she did not return to 
the house. So Seragunting began to be anxious, and asked 
his father to accompany him to the well to look for her. 
At first his father refused to do so, but when he saw his 
son crying for his mother, he went with him to the well. 
They found the water- vessels there, but saw no signs of 

" Your mother is not here, Seragunting," said Siu. 
" Perhaps she has gone to the garden to get some vege- 
tables for our dinner. Let us go back to the house. If 
your mother is not back early to-morrow morning, we will 
go and look for her." So they both returned to the house, 
taking back with them the water-gourds which Siu's wife 
had left at the well. 

Early the next morning Seragunting and his father 
went in search of her. They took with them only a little 
food, as they expected to find her not very far off. But 
they wandered the whole day, and saw no signs of her. 
They spent the night under a large tree in the jungle. 
Early the next morning they v/erc surprised to find a 
small bundle of food, wrapped up in leaves, near Sera- 
gunting. This food was evidently meant for him alone, 
as it was not enough for two, but he gave some of it to his 
father, who ate sparingly of it, so that his son might not 
be hungry. They wandered on for several days, and 


every night the same strange thing occurred — a bundle of 
food was left near Seragunting. Siu suggested to his son 
that they should return ; but Seragunting, who during the 
journey had grown up into a strong lad, with a will of his 
own, would not consent to do so, as he was determined to 
find his mother. 

They wandered on for several days, deeper and deeper 
into the jungle, but could find no signs of her whom they 
sought. At last they came to the sea-shore. Here they 
rested for some days, in the hope that some boat might 
pass. Still, as before, each morning a bundle of food 
was found by Seragunting. If it were not for this food, 
they woiild have long ago died of starvation. On this 
they managed to live, waiting hopefully to see some boat 
appear to take them on their journey. 

One day as Seragunting was watching, he heard the 
sound of paddles, and saw in the distance several long 
boats approaching. He hailed the first, and asked the 
men in it to take him and his father with them. The 
boat made for the shore, but the man in the bows recog- 
nized the two wanderers, and shouted out : " It is Siu and 
his son Seragunting ; do not let them come into the boat." 
The boat went on and left them to their fate. The same 
thing happened in the case of each of the other boats. 
As soon as Siu and his son were recognized, no one would 
help them. 

Now these were the boats of the sons-in-law of Singalang 
Burong : Katupong, Beragai, Bejampong, Papau, Nendak, 
Kutok, and Embuas. They were not pleased at their 
sister-in-law marrying a mere mortal like Siu, and so 
refused to help him and his son. 

The next day Seragunting saw what seemed to be a dark 
cloud come towards him over the sea. As it came nearer, 


it took the form of a gigantic spider, carrying some food 
and clothes. 

" Do not be afraid," said the Spider ; " I have come to 
help you and your father. I have brought you food and 
clothing. When you have eaten and changed your 
clothes I will take you across the water to the land on the 
other side. My name is Emplawa Jawa (the Spider of 
Java). I know your history, and I will lead you to your 
mother whom you seek." 

After they had eaten and put on the new clothes 
brought them, the spider told them to go with him across 
the sea. They were not to be afraid, but to follow his 
track, not turning to the right hand nor to the left. They 
obeyed his words. Strange to say, the water became as 
hard as a sandbank under their feet. For a long time 
they were out of sight of land, but towards evening they 
approached the opposite shore, and saw a landing-place 
where there were a large number of boats. Not far off 
were several houses, and one longer and more imposing 
than any of the others. To this house the Spider directed 
Seragunting, telling him that he would find his mother 
there. The Spider then left them. As it was late, they 
did not go up to the house that evening, but spent the 
night in one of the boats at the landing-place. Among 
the boats were those belonging to the sons-in-law of 
Singalang Burong, which had passed Siu and his son as 
they waited on the sea-shore for some boat to take them 
across the sea. 

When Seragunting and his father woke up next morning, 
they saw that the road leading up to the house had sharp- 
ened pieces of bamboo planted close together to prevent 
their walking up to it. As they were wondering what 
they were to do next, a fly came to Seragunting, and said : 


" Do not be afraid to walk up. Tread on the spikes 
that I alight on ; they will not hurt you. When you come 
to the house you will find swords with blades turned 
upwards fastened to the ladder. Tread on the blades 
that I alight on, and walk boldly up into the house." 

They did as the fly advised them, and were not hurt. 
The bamboo spikes crumbled under their feet, and the 
sword-blades they trod on were blunt and harmless. 

The people of the house took no notice of them, and 
they sat down in the veranda of the house. Then the fly 
came to Seraguntmg, and whispered to him : "You must 
now follow me into the room. Your mother is there, 
lying in her mosquito curtain. I will point out to you 
which it is, and you must wake her up and tell her who 
you are. She will be very pleased to see you. Then 
when 3"ou come out into the veranda and see the sons-in- 
law of Singalang Burong, you must greet them as your 
uncles. They will disown j^ou, and pretend that you are 
no relation of theirs. But do not be afraid. You will 
be victorious in the end." 

Seragunting followed the fl}'^ into the room, and went 
to the curtain on which it alighted. He called out to his 
mother, and she awoke and saw with joy her son. She 
embraced him, and he said to her : 

" How is it you went away and left us ? We missed 
you so much, and were so sorry to lose you, that my father 
and I have been travelling for many days and nights in 
search of you. Now our troubles are over, for I have 
found you." 

" My dear son," she said as she caressed him, " though 
I left you I did not forget you. It was I who placed the 
food by you every night. I left your father because he 
broke the promise he made to me. But j^ou are my own 


son, and I have been wishing to see you ever since I left 
your house. It was I who sent the Spider to help you 
and show you your way here. My love for you is as 
great as it ever was. We will go out now into the veranda, 
and I will introduce you to your uncles and aunts, and to 
your grandfather. They may not welcome you, because 
they were opposed to my marriage to your father. But 
do not fear them. We will be more than a match for 
them aU." 

Then she spoke to her husband Siu, whom she was glad 
to meet again. All three then went out into the veranda, 
which was now full of people. Seragunting called the 
sons-in-law of Singalang Burong his uncles, but they 
refused to acknowledge him as their nephew. 

They proposed several ordeals to prove the truth of his 
words, that he was indeed the grandson of Singalang 
Burong. In all of these Seragunting came off victorious. 

As the men and boys were spinning their tops, they 
asked Seragunting to join them. He had no top of his 
own, so he asked his mother for one. She took an egg and 
uttered some mysterious words over it, and immediately 
it became a top. This she gave to her son, who went and 
joined the others in the game. Whenever Seragunting 
aimed at a top, he always hit it and smashed it. None of 
the others were a match for him. In a short time all 
the tops, except that of Seragunting, were broken in 

Then they suggested a wrestling match. Seragunting 
was quite ready to try a fall with any of them, old or 
young. Some of their best wrestlers came forward. The 
first two were overthrown by him so easily, that the others 
saw it was no use their attempting to wrestle with 


As a last trial they proposed that all should go out 
hunting. Here they hoped to be more fortunate. All the 
sons-in-law of Singalang Burong took their good hunting 
dogs with them, confident of success. Seragunting was 
told that he could have any of the other dogs left in the 
house. There he saw a few old dogs, weak and useless 
for hunting. With these he was expected to compete 
against the others, and if he were not successful, both he 
and his father were to be killed ! Seragunting consented 
even to such an unfair ordeal as that. He called to him 
an old sickly -looking dog and gently stroked it. At once 
it became young and strong ! While the others went 
forth into the jungle with a pack of hounds, Seragunting 
was only accompanied by one dog. In the evening 
Katupong, Beragai, Bejampong, and the others all re- 
turned unsuccessful. Soon after Seragunting's dog ap- 
peared, chasing a huge boar, which made a stand at the 
foot of the ladder of the house. Seragunting asked the 
others to kill the beast if they dared. The spears cast 
at it glided off and left the beast unharmed. Some of 
those who were rash enough to go near the animal had a 
close escape from being torn in pieces by its tusks. 

Seraguntung, armed with nothing better than a little 
knife belonging to his mother, walked up to the infuriated 
animal and stabbed it in a vital part, and .it fell down 
dead at his feet. 

After these marvellous feats, all were compelled to 
admit that Seragunting was a true grandson of the great 
Singalang Burong. They all acknowledged him as such, 
and he was taken to his grandfather, who was pleased to 
see the lad, and promised to help him throughout his 

But Siu was unhappy in his new home. He could not 


help thinking of his mother, whom he had left alone, and 
he was anxious to return to his own people. He begged 
his wife to accompany him back to his old home, but she 
refused to do so. It was decided that Siu and his son 
should stay in the house of Singalang Burong till they had 
obtained such knowledge as would be useful to them in 
the future, and that then they were to return to the lower 
world, bringing with them the secrets they had learnt 
from those wiser and more powerful than themselves. 

All the people of the house were now most kind to Siu 
and his son, and were most anxious to teach them all 
they could. They were taken on a war expedition 
against the enemy, so that they might learn the science 
and art of Dyak warfare. They were taught how to set 
traps to catch deer and wild pig. They were shown the 
different methods of catching fish, and learnt to make 
the different kinds of fish-trap used by the Dyaks of the 
present day. They remained in Singalang Burong 's 
house that whole year so that they might have a complete 
and practical knowledge of the different stages of paddy- 

When the year was ended, Seragunting's mother took 
him and Siu to see her father, Singalang Burong, so that 
they might receive from him his advice, as well as such 
charms as he might wish to give them before they left 
to return to the lower world of mortals. 

Singalang Burong was sitting in his chair of state, and 
received them most kindly. He bade them be seated on 
the mat at his feet, as he had many things to say to them. 
Then he explamed to Siu and his son who he was, and the 
worship due to him, and they learnt also about the 
observance of omens, both good and bad. 

" I am the Ruler of the Spirit-World," said Singalang 


Burong, " and have the power to make men successful 
in all they undertake. At all times if you wish for my 
help, you must call upon me and make offerings to me. 
Especially must this be done before you go to fight against 
the enem}^ for I am the God of War, and help those who 
pay me due respect. 

" You have learnt here how to plant paddy. I will 
give you some padd}^ to take away with you, and when 
you get back to your own countrj^, you can teach men 
how to cultivate it. You will find rice a much more 
strengthening article of food than the yams and potatoes 
you used to live upon, and you wUl become a strong and 
hardy race. 

" And to help you in 3'our daily work, my sons-in-law 
will always tell you whether that you do is right or 
wrong. In every work that you undertake you must 
pay heed to the voices of the sacred birds — Katupong, 
Beragai, Bejampong, Papau, Nendak, Kutok, and Emhuas. 
These birds, named after my sons-in-law, represent them, 
and are the means by which I make known my wishes to 
mankind. When you hear them, remember it is myself 
speaking through my sons-in-law for encouragement or 
for warning. Whatever work you may be engaged in, — 
farm-work, house-building, fishmg, or hunting — wherever 
you may be you must always do as these birds direct. 
Whenever you have a feast, you must make an offering to 
me, and j^ou must call upon my sons-in-law to come and 
partake of the feast. If you do not do these things, some 
evil is sure to happen to you. I am willing to help you 
and to give you prosperit}^ but I expect due respect to 
be paid to me, and will not allow my commands to be 
Then Singalang Burong presented them with many 


charms to take away with them. They were of various 
kinds. Some had the power to make the owner brave 
and fortunate in war. Others were to preserve him in 
good health, or to make him successful in his paddy- 
planting, and cause him to have good harvests. 

Siu and Seragunting then bade their friends farewell 
and started to return. As soon as they had descended 
the ladder of the house of Singalang Burong, they were 
swiftly transported through the air by some mysterious 
power, and in a moment they found themselves at the 
bathing-place of their own house. 

Their friends crowded round them, glad to see them 
back safe and well. They were taken with much rejoicing 
to the house. Friends and neighbours were told of their 
return, and a great meeting was held that evening. All 
gathered round the two adventurers, who told them of 
their strange experiences in the far country of the Spirit 
Birds. The charms received from Singalang Burong 
were handed round for general admiration. The new 
seed, paddy, was produced, and the good qualities of rice 
as an article of food explained. The people congregated 
there had never seen paddy before, but all determined 
to be guided by Siu and Seragunting, and to plant it in 
future. The different names of the sacred birds were 
told to the assembled people, and all were warned to pay 
due respect to their cries. 

And so, according to the ancient legend, ended the old 
primitive life of the Dyak, when he lived upon such poor 
food as the fruits of the jungle, and any yams and potatoes 
he happened to plant near his house ; the old blind exist- 
ence, in which there was nothing to guide him ; and then 
began his new life, in which he advanced forward a step, 
and learnt to have regularly, year by year, his seed-time 


and harvest, and to know that there were unseen powers 
ruling the universe, whose will might be learnt by man- 
kind, and obedience to whom would bring success and 


Pulang-Gana, and how He came to be Worshipped 
AS THE God of the Earth. 

Long, long ago, though the Dyaks knew of paddy, and 
planted it every year, yet they had very poor crops, 
because they did not know wliat god owned the land, 
and as they did not offer him sacrifices he did nothing 
to help them. In those days there lived together seven 
brothers and their only sister. The brothers' names were 
Bui-Nasi, Belang-Pinggang, Bejit-Manai, Bunga-Jawa, 
Litan-Dai, Kenyawang, and Pulang-Gana, and the 
sister's Puchong-Kempat. They lived on a hill by the 
side of a broad river. On all sides were wide plains, and 
beyond them high hills rose in the distance. Most of 
these plains were covered with thick jungle, and only a 
few clearings where paddy had been planted could be 

Not far from the house the brothers had a garden in 
which they planted potatoes, yams, sugar-cane, and 
tapioca ; but a porcupine would often come at night and 
do much damage to the garden. They bade their youngest 
brother, Pulang-Gana, keep watch, directing him to drive 
away the animal or kill it if he could. But all his efforts 
were vain. When he was awake the animal did not come, 
but as soon as he fell asleep the porcupine would creep in 
quietly and eat up the potatoes and yams. The elder 
brothers were not kind to Pulang-Gana. They would not 


keep watch themselves, but whenever they saw fresh 
damage done they not only scolded their younger brother, 
but beat him with sticks. 

" He is only lazy," they said, " and deserves a thrash- 
ing. He does nothing but sleep, and is too lazy to wake 
up at night and drive the porcupine away !" 

Poor Pulang-Gana ! His was a hard lot indeed ! 

He determined to keep careful watch one night, and, 
whatever it cost him, to kill the porcupine, so that his 
brothers might have no more cause for blaming him. 
That night he did not sleep at all. The porcupine came 
just before dawn, when all was still. Pulang-Gana was 
awake, and went after it, determined to kill it. The 
animal ran away, and Pulang-Gana followed. The moon 
was shining brightly, and he had no difficulty in seeing 
in what direction the animal went. Every now and then 
the porcupine stopped, but as soon as Pulang-Gana came 
up it started off again, and he was not able to kill it ; so 
the animal went on, and Pulang-Gana followed, deter- 
mined not to give up the chase until he had effected his 

The sun was beginning to rise in the east, and still 
Pulang-Gana pursued the porcupine. 

" Sooner or later," he said to himself, " I must catch 
it up. The animal is already tired. I will not return 
home till I have killed it." 

The porcupine now came to the foot of a rocky moun- 
tain. Pulang-Gana, thinking the chase would soon be 
over, hurried on, but before he could reach the animal it 
had escaped through an opening in the solid rock. The 
cave into which it had disappeared was large enough for 
a man to stand upright in, and Pulang-Gana said to 
himself : — 


" Now I have you. Wait till I have a light to show 
me where you are, and then I will come in and kill 


He collected some dry branches, and tied them together 
for a torch. He found a piece of dry soft wood, and also 
a short stick of some hard wood, the point of which he 
sharpened. With the palms of his hands he worked the 
small stick and drilled a hole in the soft wood. Soon it 
began to smoke, and with the aid of some dry twigs he 
blew the fire into a blaze ; then he lighted his torch, and 
hurried into the cave after the porcupine. 

He saw the animal a little distance ahead of him, and 
followed it leisurely. There was no need for haste, as he 
would be able to kill it easily enough when he drove it 
to the end of the cave, and it had no means of escape. 
The cave seemed to extend a great wa}^ into the moun- 
tain. After a few hours' walking Pulang-Gana was sur- 
prised to come to an opening in the rock, through which 
the porcupine had evidently escaped. Outside the sun 
was shining brightly. Pulang-Gana went through this 
opening, but, though he looked m all directions, he could 
see no signs of the porcupine. 

He was uncertain what he ought to do next. The 
porcupine had escaped, and there was no chance of his 
being able to kill it. He did not feel inclined to return 
to his brothers, because they were all unkind to him. 
On the other hand, he did not know if this new country 
in which he found himself was inhabited ; and, if inhabited, 
whether the people would treat him kindly. Looking 
around, he saw smoke arising some distance off, and 
guessed that it was a Dyak house. As he was hungry, 
he decided to make for it, hoping the inmates would be 
kind to him and give him food. 


As Pulang-Gana came nearer, he saw the house was a 
very long one, inhabited by about one hundred families. 
He stopped at the bottom of the ladder leading up to the 
house, and, following the Dyak custom, asked in a loud 
voice if he might walk up. 

" Yes ; come up, Pulang-Gana," said a voice in reply. 
" We have been expecting you for some time, and will 
be glad to see you." 

He was surprised that his name should be known in 
this strange country in which he had never been before. 
He walked up, and in the long open hall stretching the 
whole length of the house he saw an old man and a young 
and beautiful girl. 

" Spread out a mat, my daughter," the old man said, 
" that Pulang-Gana may sit and rest after his long journey, 
and you can prepare some food for him. No doubt he is 
hungry as well as tired." 

She spread out a mat for Pulang-Gana, and then went 
into the room to get ready a meal for their visitor. Soon 
after she opened the door of the room and asked him to 
come in and eat. 

The old man, who seemed kind and hospitable, said to 
him : — 

"Go in and have some food. You must be hungry 
after your long journey. When you have eaten and 
rested we can have a talk together. I have long wished 
to meet you and to ask you about yourself and your 
brothers, and how affairs are in your country." 

Pulang-Gana went into the room, and found a nice 
meal awaiting him. Bemg very hungry, he did full 
justice to it. 

That evening, as they sat by the fire, the old man asked 
him about his people, and if they had good crops of paddy 


in his country. Pulang-Gana answered that, though his 
brothers possessed the largest paddy-fields in the country, 
he never remembered their having a really good harvest. 
The paddy they obtained was not sufficient to last them 
the whole year, and they had to fall back on potatoes 
and sago for food. The old man seemed interested in 
what his guest said of himself, so Pulang-Gana went on 
and told him of all his circumstances, — how he lived with 
his six brothers and only sister, and how unkind his 
brothers were to him. He also told the old man about 
the porcupine which did such damage to their garden, and 
how often he had been scolded and beaten by his brothers 
for not being able to drive away or kill the animal. He 
gave an account of his adventures that morning, and how, 
determined to kill the porcupine, he had followed it 
through the underground passage under the mountain, 
and had found himself in this strange country. 

" I have heard your story," said the old man, " and 
think you are much to be pitied. Your brothers seem 
to have been very unkind and to have treated you very 
badly. I would like you to stay with me here, and not 
return to them. I have no son, and would like you to 
marry my daughter and live with us. I am getting old, 
and am not so strong as I used to be, and will be glad of 
your help." 

" I should like to stay with you very much, for you 
seem so kind, and are so different to my brothers, and I 
should like to marry your daughter and spend the rest of 
my life here. But there is no one to look after our 
garden, and the porcupine will do much damage to it. 
My brothers are sure to be angry with me for leaving 
them, and when they see their garden destroyed through 
my neglect they are sure to hunt for me, and when they 


find me tliey will probably kill me. No ; much as I would 
like to stay, I am afraid I cannot. I must start to return 
to-morrow. It would have been different if I had suc- 
ceeded in killing the porcupme ; then it would not matter 
so much if I stayed away some time." 

" You need not trouble yourself about the animal that 
attacks the vegetables planted in your garden. I can 
prevent its coming again. That porcupine is not really 
an animal. One of our slaves here, named Indai-Antok- 
Genok, is commanded by me to transform herself into a 
porcupine, and pay visits to that garden. I shall tell her 
to do so no more, and your brothers' garden will be safe 
enough without you to watch it. You must remain here 
with us. There is nothing for you to fear. If you do 
not return, your brothers will think that some accident 
has happened to you, and that you are dead. As they 
are all so unkind to you, you may be sure they will not 
trouble to look for you." 

" Well, if that be the case, I will gladly live with you. 
I was not happy with my brothers, and I am sure I shall 
be happy here." 

So it was decided that Pulang-Gana should remain in 
the house of the old man. Some months afterwards he 
married the daughter, and they lived happily as husband 
and wife. His wife's father and mother were kind to him, 
and so were the other people in the house, and Pulang- 
Gana was very glad he decided to cast in his lot with 

Now, this old man who treated Pulang-Gana so kindly 
was no ordinary mortal. His name was Rajah Shua, 
and he ruled the spirits who lived in the underground 
caves of the earth. His wife was quite as powerful as he. 
She was a goddess, and had power over the animals of the 



forest, all of which obeyed her. She was known as Sere- 
gendah. The daughter that married Pulang-Gana was 
called Trentom-Tanah-Tumboh, and sometimes Setang- 

In process of time Pulang-Gana 's wife gave birth to a 
gkl, who was very much admired by all, and greatly loved 
by her parents. 

When the child was a few years old, she came one day 
to her father and mother and asked what property they 
intended to leave her. The mother showed her the 
valuable jars and brassware that she possessed, all of 
which were to belong to her child. Then the little girl 
asked her father what he had to give her. Pulang-Gana 
had no property to leave to his daughter. Years ago he 
had come by chance to this house of Rajah Shua, bringing 
nothing witii him, and unless his brothers gave him a 
share of their father's property, he would have nothing 
to leave his daughter. So he told her to be content with 
what her mother gave her. She would be very rich 
without anything from him. But she was not satisfied 
with this reply, and cried because her father said he had 
nothing to give her. 

When Pulang-Gana saw how sad his child was he said 
to his father-in-law that he would like to pay a visit to 
his brothers, and ask them for his share of the property, 
that he might have something to give his daughter. 
Rajah Shua told him he might go to them, but warned 
him that probably he would not have a kind reception, 
and advised him not to be away long, but to return as 
soon as possible. 

Pulang-Gana started on his journey to his old home, 
wondering how his brothers would receive him after his 
long absence. He had no difficulty in finding his way, 


as his father-in-law gave him very definite instructions 
about his journey. He found that his brothers had built 
a new house not far from the site of the old one in which 
he had lived with them years ago. The house seemed 
very quiet, and he learnt that nearly all the people were 
away on a tuha-^shing expedition. Only his sister-in- 
law, the wife of his brother Belang-Pinggang, was at 

She was very much surprised to see him, and said they 
had given him up for dead long ago. She told him that 
the others were away fishing, and that his brother Bui- 
Nasi, herself, and a little boy were the only members of 
the family left at home. He would find his brother and the 
little boy working at the forge making some implements 
for their work. 

Pulang-Gana said he would go to his brother, and he 
left the house and walked in the direction where he 
guessed the forge was from the sound of hammering he 

" Oh ! is that you, Pulang-Gana ?" said Bui-Nasi, as 
soon as he saw him. " Where have you been all these 
years ? We thought that you had met with some 
accident, and had died long ago." 

Pulang-Gana said little about himself to his brother. 
He told him how he had lost his way in the jungle years 
ago, and when he arrived at last at a house the people 
there persuaded him to stay with them, and he said that 
he was now married and had a daughter. 

"Have you come with your wife to stay with us ?" 
asked Bui-Nasi. 

" No," was the answer ; " I have only come on a short 
visit by myself to ask for my share of the property left 
us by our father." 


" You have nothing whatever to expect. You left us 
years ago of your own will, and have been away all this 
time, and now you have the impudence to come and ask 
for your share of the property. I advise you to say 
nothing of this to the others. They will be very vexed 
with you if you do." 

" I do not ask for much," said Pulang-Gana. " I will 
be satisfied with little. But my daughter asked me what 
I had to give her, so I came here to beg for something, 
and I should be sorry to return empty-handed." 

" You shall not return empty-handed," said Bui-Nasi 
in scorn. " Here is somethmg for you to take back with 
you. It is all that you will get from us, I can tell you." 
With these words he threw Pulang-Gana a clod of earth 
which he saw lying near. " Now go away, and do not 
let us see your face again." 

Pulang-Gana put the lump of earth in his bag, and 
with a heavy heart started to return to his house. So 
this was the way his brothers treated him ! There was 
nothmg to expect from them ! 

When he arrived at his house, all the family gathered 
round him. They had heard that he had gone to ask his 
brothers for his share of the property, and they were 
anxious to see what he brought back. His little daughter 
rushed up eagerly to him and said : — 

" Father, what have you brought back for me from 
my uncles ? Let me see the nice things they gave 

Then Pulang-Gana said sadly : " I received no share of 
the property from your uncles. They would have nothing 
to do with me, and drove me away." 

"But did you get nothing at all from them ?" asked 
his father-in-law. 


" Yes," said Pulang-Gana ; " my brother Bui-Nasi did 
give me something, but I am ashamed to tell you what 
it is. Here it is." And he took out from his bag the 
lump of earth his brother had given him, and handed it 
to his father-m-law. 

When Rajah Shua saw what Pulang-Gana had received 
from his brothers, he said joyfully : — • 

" They have given you the most valuable gift it is 
possible to imagine. You are now a person of great 
importance. The earth is yours. Whoever wishes to 
plant on it must first make offerings and sacrifices to 
you, and pray to you to give him a good harvest. It is 
in your power to make the earth fruitful or barren, and 
to give mankind a good or a bad harvest as you 

A few months after, the brothers of Pulang-Gana, at 
the advice of Bui-Nasi, decided on the site where they 
were to plant paddy that year. It was a large forest 
some distance away from their house. First they cut 
do^vn the smaller trees, and then they felled the large 
trees, and when all this work was done they rested for 
some weeks, waiting for the sun to dry up the timber, so 
that it might be set on fire and the land be ready for 
planting on. 

One day Pulang-Gana 's father-in-law said to him : " I 
hear that your brothers have been busy cutting down the 
trees where they intend to plant paddy this year. As 
they gave you the earth some time ago to be your share 
of the property, it is only right that they should ask 
leave from you before planting on it. Since they have 
not done so, you must stop them from planting paddy 

" How can I prevent them planting paddy where 


they like ?" said Pulang-Gana in dismay. " Is it 
likely that they will take any notice of anything I 
say ?" 

" Yes," said his father-in-law, Rajah Shua ; " they will 
have to listen to what you say, for I will be on your side, 
and will help you. I am the god that rules the spirits 
that live in the underground caves of the earth, and my 
wife Seregendah has power over the animals and the 
spirits which inhabit the forests. As your brothers have 
treated you so unkindly, and have given you no share of 
the property, and have simply given you a clod of earth 
to take back with you, my wife and I will punish them 
and reward you by giving you power over everything 
that grows on the earth. Before the land is planted, 
offerings must be made to you, and invocations must 
be sung to yourself, and myself, and my wife Sere- 
gendah. Unless these things be done, the ground will 
not be fruitful. 

" As your brothers have not done anythmg of the kind, 
you must teach them a lesson, and prevent them from 
going on with their work. This evening at dusk you 
must go to the newlj' cleared forest and cry aloud : 
' Come here, all you who are the servants of Seregendah 
and Rajah Shua,,' and name all the wild beasts of the 
forest. They will come to you in large numbers. Then 
you must ask them, as well as the invisible spirits, who 
will be present too, to help you to put up all the trees 
that have been cut down." 

Pulang-Gana did as his father-in-law advised him. 
He went at dusk to the part of the jungle where his 
brothers had been cutting down the trees, and called to 
the animals in the name of Rajah Shua and of Seregendah, 
and they came in large numbers and helped him to put 


up all the trees that had been felled, and the forest 
appeared just as it had been before any of the trees had 
been cut down. 

The next day Bui-Nasi went early in the morning to 
see if the fish-traps he had set in the stream had caught 
any fish, and as he was near the part of the forest where 
the trees had been cut down by his brothers and himself 
not long before, he went on to see how things were 
getting on, and if the felled jungle was dry enough to 
be burnt. 

To his great surprise he found all the trees standing, 
and no signs of the clearing that had been made. He 
hurried home and told his brothers what he had seen, 
and they all returned, accompanied by their friends and 
followers, and found that what Bui-Nasi had told them 
was perfectly true. They were all very much sur- 
prised, as they had never known such a thing happen 

" I wonder if this is really the part of the forest which 
we cleared a few weeks ago," said one of the brothers. 
" Perhaps we have mistaken the spot." 

" No," said Bui-Nasi in reply ; " there is no mistake. 
Here are the whetstones on which we sharpened our axes 
and hatchets ; and here, too, is where we did our cooking 
for our midday meal." 

They held a consultation as to what was to be 

" This is very strange," said Bui-Nasi. " Some enemy, 
who is helped by powerful spirits, is determined not to 
let us plant paddy here. Let us try and find out who 
has made the trees that we have cut down stand upright 
as before. My advice is that we cut down the jungle 
anew, and that some of us remain and keep watch 


here all night. Perhaps we may be able to catch the 

So the brothers and all their friends and followers set 
to work, and before the day was ended they had cleared 
afresh a large stretch of jungle. 

Twelve men, with Bui-Nasi at their head, were set to 
watch, and the others returned home, discussing among 
themselves what had taken place. 

Those that were left by the clearing had not long to 
wait. Soon after dusk they saw a man come, and, 
standing on the trunk of a large felled tree, call aloud to 
the animals of the forest and the mvisible spirits around 
in the name of Rajah Shua and Seregendah to come to 
his help. The twelve men crept up cautiously behind 
him and seized him. 

" We have you now," they said as they held him fast. 
"It is you who have caused us all the trouble of having 
to cut down this jungle for the second time. Now we 
intend to kill you, and j'^ou will not be able to play your 
tricks on us any more." 

It was too dark to see who it was, and Bui-Nasi said : 
*' Let us have a light and see what he is lil^e. I am sure 
he must be as ugly as he is troublesome." 

One of them fetched a light, and to their great surprise 
they saw their prisoner was Pulang-Gana ! 

" So it is you, Pulang-Gana !" said his brother in anger. 
" You are up to j^our old tricks again. You were too 
lazy to work before, and would not keep watch over our 
garden, and you left us without telling us where you were 
gomg. And now, after several 3^ears' absence, you come 
back and disturb us in our work, and by some means 
or other set up the trees we have had the trouble of 
cutting down. Though I am your brother, I have 


no pity for you. As long as you are alive you will give 
us trouble, so we intend to kill you and be well rid of 

He expected Pulang-Gana to be afraid of him, and to 
plead for his life. But things were very much changed 
from the old days, when Pulang-Gana was the despised 
youngest brother, beaten and scolded by the others. 
Now he was the son-in-law of the gods, and had Rajah 
Shua and Seregendah to help him, and he was not at all 
afraid of his brothers, because he knew well they could 
do him no harm. 

He shook off those that held him, and told them to 
listen to what he had to say. His manner and bearing 
were very different from that of one who feared them. 
They stood around him in awe, for they instinctively felt 
that Pulang-Gana was not to be trifled with, and from 
what had already taken place they knew that he was 
aided by powerful spirits. 

Then Pulang-Gana spoke : — 

" I have good reason for doing what I did. You have 
no right to cut down this jungle or to plant on this land. 
You have not asked my leave to do so, and have not 
paid me the price of the land. Not long ago, you, Bui- 
Nasi, gave me a clod of earth as my share of the property 
of our father, and so I have now the right of preventing 
any from planting on the earth. It is no use you attempt- 
ing to kill me. Though you are many in numbers, it is 
impossible for you to kill me, because I am now the god 
of the earth, and am assisted by Rajah Shua and Sere- 
gendah, whose power you know." 

There was silence for a short time, and then Bui-Nasi 
said : — 

" No doubt what you say is true, for no one without 


supernatural aid could have made the trees that were cut 
down stand upright and grow. What do you wish us 
to do, and how are we to obtain your leave to plant on 
the land ?" 

Pulang-Gana told them to gather all the people together 
the next day, and he would tell them what they 
must do in order to insure their getting good crops of 

That same night messengers were sent in all directions 
to tell the people in the neighbouring villages to come 
together the next day, in order that they might learn 
from Pulang-Gana what they were to do before cutting 
down the jungle and planting paddy. 

The next morning a very large crowd gathered together, 
and Pulang-Gana said to them : 

" You must always remember that I am the god of 
the earth, and before cutting down the jungle for planting 
you must make invocations to me, as well as to Rajah 
Shua and Seregendah, and you must ask me for permis- 
sion to plant on the piece of land you have chosen. You 
must also kill some animal — a pig or a fowl — and offer it 
as a sacrifice to me, and in addition to this some offering 
of food — rice, or eggs, or potatoes, or fruit^ — must be 
made. Then, lastly, you must remember to bury some 
small offering in the ground. That is the rent you pay 
me for the use of the land, for all the land belongs to me, 
and I expect rent to be paid by all who use it. 

" And if anything goes wrong in your paddy-fields 
and the crops are poor, or, being good, are attacked by 
insects or wild animals, then you must call upon Rajah 
Shua and Seregendah and mj'self to come to j^our aid, 
and we will help you." 

Then for the first time did the new ceremonies come 


nto force, and, aided by the higher powers, men were 
able to obtain much better crops than they had done 
before. And this is why no Dyak dares to plant paddy 
without first burying some small gift in the earth, and 
also making invocations and offerings to Pulang-Gana, 
Rajah Shua, and Seregendah. 


Trial by ordeal — Diving contests — A diving contest in Krian — A 
Dyak superstition — Names — Fruit found by the pathway — Cir- 
cumcision — Fishing and hunting superstition — Madness — Leprosy 
— Time — Form of greeting. 

THE practice of referring disputed questions to 
supernatural decision is not unknown to the 
Dyaks. They have the trial by ordeal, and 
believe that the gods are sure to help the innocent and 
punish the guilty. I have heard of several different 
methods, which are seldom resorted to nowadays. The 
only ordeal that I have frequently seen among the Dyaks 
is the Ordeal by Diving. When there is a dispute 
between two parties in which it is impossible to get any 
reliable evidence, or where one of the parties is not 
satisfied with the decision of the headman of the Dyak 
house, the Diving Ordeal is often resorted to. 

Several preliminar}^ meetmgs are held by the repre- 
sentatives of both parties to determine the time and 
place of the match. It is also decided what property 
each party should stake. This has to be paid by the loser 
to the victor. The various articles staked are brought 
out of the room, and placed in the public hall of the 
house in which each litigant lives, and there they are 
covered up and secured. 
The Dyaks look upon a Diving Ordeal as a sacred 



rite, and for several days and nights before the contest 
they gather their friends together, and make offerings 
and sing incantations to the spirits, and beg of them to 
vindicate the just and cause their representative to \vm. 
Each party chooses a champion. There are many pro- 
fessional divers who for a trifling sum are willing to 
undergo the painful contest. 

On the evening of the day previous to that on which 
the diving match is to take place each champion is fed 
with seven compressed balls of cooked rice. Then each 
is made to lie down on a fine mat, and is covered with 
the best T)y8hk woven sheet they have ; an incantation is 
made over him, and the spirit inhabitants of the waters 
are invoked to come to the aid of the man whose cause is 

Early the next morning the champions are roused from 
their sleep, and dressed each in a fine new waist-cloth. 
The articles staked are brought down from the houses 
and placed upon the bank. A large crowd of men, 
women, and children join the procession of the two 
champions and their friends and supporters to the scene 
of the contest at the riverside. As soon as the place is 
reached, fires are lit and mats are spread for the divers 
to sit on and warm themselves. While they sit by 
their respective fires, the necessary arrangements are 

Each party provides a roughly-constructed wooden grat- 
ing to be placed in the bed of the river for his champion 
to stand on in the water. These are placed within a few 
yards of each other, where the water is deep enough to 
reach the waist, and near each a pole is thrust firmly in 
the mud for the man to hold on to when he is diving. 
The two men are led out into the river, and each stands 


on his own grating grasping his pole. At a given signal 
they plunge their heads simultaneously into the water. 
Immediately the spectators shout aloud at the top of 
their voices, over and over again, " Lobon — lohon,'"' and 
continue doing so during the whole contest. What these 
mysterious words mean, I have never been able to dis- 
cover. When at length one of the champions shows signs 
of yielding, by his movements in the water and the 
shaking of the pole he is holding to, the excitement 
becomes very great. ''Lobon — lobon,'''' is shouted louder 
and more rapidly than before. The shouts become 
deafening. The struggles of the poor victim who is fast 
becommg asphyxiated are painful to witness. The 
champions are generally plucky, and seldom come out of 
the water of their own will. They stay under water until 
the loser drops senseless, and is dragged ashore apparently 
lifeless by his companions. The friends of his opponent, 
raising a loud shout of triumph, hurry to the bank, and 
seize and carrj'^ off the stakes. The vanquished one, 
quite unconscious, is carried by his friends to the fire. 
In a few minutes he recovers, opens his eyes and gazes 
wildly around, and in a short time is able to walk slowly 
home. Next day he is probably in high fever from the 
effects of his dive. When both champions succumb at the 
same time, the one who first regains his senses is held to 
be the winner. 

I have timed several diving contests, and where the 
divers are good they keep under water between three and 
four minutes. 

Among some tribes of Dyaks, the champion is paid his 
fee whether he wins or loses. They say it is not the fault 
of the diver, but because his side is in the wrong, that he 
is beaten. Among other tribes, however, no fee is given 


to the losing champion, so he comes oil very poorly 

There are certain cases where diving seems to be the 
only means of a satisfactory decision. Take the case of 
the ownership of a durian tree. The tree probably does 
not bear fruit till fifteen years after it has been planted. 
Up to that time no one pays any attention to it. When 
the tree begins to bear fruit two or three lay claim to it. 
The man who originally planted it is probably dead, and 
no one knows for certain whom the tree belongs to. In 
a case like this, no amount of discussion can lead to a 
satisfactory decision, whereas a diving contest settles the 
matter to the satisfaction of all parties. 

The Dyaks have great faith in the Diving Ordeal, and 
believe that the gods will always maintain right by making 
the man who is in the wrong be the loser. In fact, if a 
Dyak refuses the challenge of a Diving Ordeal, it is equiva- 
lent to his admitting that he is in the wrong. 

Among the Dyaks of the Batang Lupar diving contests 
are frequent. Champions are poorly paid for diving, and 
the losing diver receives nothing at all. Little or nothing 
is staked, and there is not much attached to the winning 
or losing of a case except the property in dispute. If the 
divmg contest be about a fruit-tree, the winner becomes 
the owner of the tree, and the loser is not allowed to make 
any further claim. In the villages on the Krian River, 
however, the ordeal by diving is rarely resorted to, and 
when a diving contest does take place, the stakes are 
very high indeed. 

A remarkable dispute was decided in Krian many years 
ago. I was told of it by the son of the man who won the 
case. A girl put out in the sun a petticoat she had woven. 
It was stolen. Some months after she saw a girl wearing 


it, and recognized it as her petticoat. She accused the 
girl of stealing it. The girl declared it was her own, and 
denied the theft. Both girls belonged to good families. 
It was decided to resort to the ordeal by divmg. The 
stakes were very high. It was agreed that the losing 
party should give to the other eight valuable jars. 

Each party chose a good champion, and the fee paid 
him was very high. On the day of the contest a very 
large crowd from far and near came together to witness it. 

The losing party paid to the victors the eight valuable 
jars as promised, and were reduced to poverty by doing so. 

The Dyaks have a curious superstition that if food is 
offered to a man, and he refuses it, and goes away without 
at least touching it, some misfortune is sure to befall him. 
It is said that he is sure to be either attacked by a crocodile, 
or bitten by a snake, or suffer from the attack of some 

When Dyaks have been asked to stay and have a meal, 
if they do not feel inclined to do so, I have often noticed 
them touch the food before going away. They say it 
would be puni not to do so. I have never been able to 
discover the reason for this curious superstition, but 
innumerable tales are told of those who have disregarded 
it, and have paid the penalty by being attacked by some 
animal . 

A curious custom prevails among the Dyaks with 
regard to names. Parents are no longer known by their 
names, but as the father or mother of So-and-so. For 
instance, if the child is born, and named Janting, the 
father would no longer be known by his own name, but 
would be called Apai Janting (the father of Janting) 
and the mother Indai Janting (the mother of Janting). 

The names of children are often changed because the 


Dyaks have a great dislike of mentioning the name of 
anyone who is dead. So when a man dies, it is usual for 
his namesakes in his village to have new names given 

It is considered a terrible crime to mention the name 
of the father-in-law or mother-in-law. Though a Dyak 
does not speak of his father and mother by name, still if 
he were asked their names, he would give them. But if a 
man were asked the name of his father-in-law or mother- 
in-law, he would not tell it, but ask some other person 
present to do so. 

The Dyaks will eat fruit that has fallen from any tree, 
but if they find fruit by the path, they will never touch it. 
The reason for this is given in the Dyak legend, " Danjai 
and the Were-Tiger's Sister " (p. 265). 

I remember once walking with some Dyaks, and a man 
carrying a load of fruit passed us. Farther on we saw 
some fruit which had evidently dropped from his load, 
but none of the Dyaks would eat it. 

Circumcision is practised among certain Dyak tribes. 
It is not a religious ceremony, and is not accompanied 
with the offering of sacrifices or the singing of incanta- 
tions. All I have been able to learn from such tribes as 
practise it, is that it has been the custom from ancient 
days, and so they do it. The cuttmg of the foreskin is not 
done with a knife, but with a piece of sharpened bamboo. 
The custom is by no means universal among the Sea 

When going out fishing or huntuig it is considered most 
unfortunate to mention the name of any fish or bird, or 
to talk of any animal which it is hoped to secure. One 
evening I was out shooting wild pig, and was sitting in a 
dug-out, which was paddled up a stream by three Dyaks. 



I said in fun : " There will be plenty of room to put a pig 
here behind me if we manage to shoot one." The Dj^aks 
all looked horrified, and I was told that saying such a 
thing as that meant with them the certainty of failure. 
As it happened, we succeeded in killing a wild pig, and 
brought it back that evening in the boat. There was 
much discussion among the people in the Dyak house, and 
they were surprised at our success after what I had 

Madness is looked upon by the Dyaks as possession by 
some evil spirit. All they can do for it is to call the witch- 
doctors in to sing their incantations, and exorcise the 
evil spirit. If no good result follows, and the man is 
still a violent lunatic, a large wooden cage {bubong) is 
made, and the man is kept in it. This is only done in 
the case of dangerous and violent madmen. Harmless 
lunatics and idiots are allowed their freedom. 

Leprosy is not unknown among the Dyaks, and occa- 
sionally cases of it are met with. There used to be a 
village in the Krian where there were several suffering 
from leprosy. When the disease is so far advanced as 
to make it unsafe to let them live with others in the 
long Dyak house, a separate little hut is put up for them 
at some distance away. I remember seeing a poor woman 
who lived by herself in this way. The people from the 
house would often go and see her, and take her food and 
water, but sometimes she would be left for days. She 
told me that once her fire went out, and as no one came 
to see her for two days, she was unable to cook any food, 
and bad to live as best she could during that time. It 
must have been a lonely, unhappy life she led, and one can 
imagine such an one longing for death to end her troubles. 

The Dyaks mark the time by the position of the sun. 


A man will tell you at what hour you may expect him by 
saying something of this kind, " I shall come to-morrow 
when the sun is there," pointing to the part of the sky 
where the sun will be. 

The usual form of greeting when Dyaks meet is, " Kini 
ka nuan?"" {"Where are you going?"), or, '' Ari n* 
nuan .?" (" Where have you come from ?"). 



The Sea Dyak — Work — Bad times — Cheerfulness — The view from 
within — The Sea Dyak's future — Mission work among them — 
Government — Development in the immediate future. 

THERE are occasions when one who has lived among 
a people like the Dyaks, and has learnt to know 
and to love them, looks forward into the coming 
years and tries to picture what is in store for them. 
Those who have read the preceding pages will be able 
to form some idea of the Dyaks as they are, and know 
their manner of life, and to a certain extent, I hope, 
their modes of thought. In this chapter I shall say 
something of the probable future of the Sea Dyak in 
Sarawak. Let me first recall some features of the home 
life of the average Dyak at the present day. 

He marries at an early age, and lives in a long Dyak 
village house with his wife and children. His wife since 
her marriage has grown into a tired-looking, untidy woman^ 
very different from the bright merry girl of ten years ago. 
How can she help it ? She has four children to look after, 
and the youngest is still an infant, who needs a great deal 
of her attention. She has to fetch the water required, 
and do the cooking for the family. She has to attend to 
the drying and pounding of the paddy, and convert it 



into the rice for their daily food. In addition to all 
this, there is the worry and commotion connected with 
having to move the household for some months each 
year to the little hut put up in their paddy-farm some 
little distance away. 

The Sea Dyak has year after year to grow as much 
paddy as possible. He rises on work-days early in the 
morning, partakes of his frugal meal of rice and salt, or 
rice and salt fish, varied, if he be very lucky, by a piece 
of wild pig's flesh or venison, which he has received as a 
gift or bought from some hunting friend. His wife 
bundles up for him his midday meal in the spathe of the 
Penang palm, and be goes off to his work, returning home 
late in the evening. 

There are days when he does not go to work on his 
paddy-farm, but spends his time in getting firewood or 
mending things in his room, or in sitting about in the 
common veranda chatting with his friends. 

When the paddy has grown a little, and the time for 
weeding draws near, the family remove to the little hut 
put up in the paddy-field. In the weeding the Sea 
Dyak is helped by his wife, the younger children being 
left in charge of the elder for the greater part of the day, 
while their parents are at work. When the weeding has 
been done, the family return to the long Dyak house for 
a month or so ; then they go back to their hut to watch 
the ripening paddy and guard it against attacks of birds 
and beasts. 

Paddy-planting is the chief occupation of every Sea 
Dyak, but he has plenty of time for other things, and his 
life is not quite so monotonous as may be supposed. The 
actual work of paddy-planting, and things connected with 
it, such as the building of farm-huts and the getting 


ready of farming implements, takes up seven or perhaps 
eight months of the year. The Sea Dyak has, therefore, 
a certain amount of time durmg which he can visit his 
friends, make boats, or hunt for jungle produce. 

On certain occasions the Sea Dyaks muster in great 
force. At a feast a large number of them appear dressed 
in such finery as they possess, and they eat more than is 
good for them, and drink enough bad Dyak tuak (spirit) 
to make them very sick and to give them a bad head- 
ache for the next few days. At a large tuba - fishing 
crowds of them congregate with their hand-nets and fish- 
spears, and a pleasant sort of picnic is spent, attended, 
if they are fortunate, with the procuring of much 

The Sea Dyak has his bad times. When he has had a 
bad crop, he has to think of some means of raising money 
— not for luxuries in dress and food, but for the plain 
necessaries of rice and salt upon which many Dyaks have 
to live for several months in the year. On these occasions 
he will work for some Chinaman at the nearest bazaar 
for a low wage, or sell firewood to them for whatever 
they will give. If he possess such things, he sells some 
old brass gun or gong to buy food for his family. If he 
be reduced to borrowing paddy from his neighbours, he 
will have to pay back the following year double the 
amount he has received. 

Below the class of industrious workers whom I have 
tried to depict, there is a lower stratum consisting of the 
failures. These are the lazy Dyaks, the poor workers, 
who have never by any possible chance enough paddy at 
the harvest to last them through the year ; who live per- 
petually in an atmosphere of debt ; who eke out their 
livelihood by selling wild-ferns and bamboo-shoots for the 

A Dyak in Gala Costume 

He has a fringed headkerchief, in which are fixed feathers of llie rliinoceros hornbill, and other 
birds. His ears are decorated with lead pendants. Round his neck are necklaces of beads, and bra<s 
or silver button^. He has shell bracelets and brass and cane rings on his arms, and a large number of 
palm fibre rings on his wrists. Round his waist is a belt of i-ilver coins, and his sword is fastened lo 
his side. He is wearing the Dyak waistcloth arid has a saro/ig- on his right shoulder. 1 his is the 
usual dress worn by a Dyak at a feast. 


trifling payment in paddy that people will give for such 
things ; who live a hugger-mugger life, depending a good 
deal on the charity of their neighbours. Of this class I 
say nothing. It is not numerous, and does not come 
within the scope of this chapter. Another class which 
t pass over consists of the few rich men, whose wealth 
is continually increasing, who sell paddy year after year, 
and, when there is more work than they can conveniently 
do, can always afford to get extra labour by paying for 
it. The class I am dealing with is neither rich nor poor, 
and is to be met with in large numbers in any Dyak com- 

The Dyak is cheerful and contented with his life. i^Ii 
his lot is a hard and uneventful one, he is ignorant of 
any other, and is quite satisfied with it. He knows little 
of the outside world. He reads no books or newspapers. 
The scope of his conversation is limited to matters of 
farming or of boat-building, varied perhaps by some local 
Dyak scandal, or some experience he may have gone 
through when, in his younger days, before he settled down 
as a sober married man, he went out gutta-hunting in 
distant lands. He has no wish to improve himself. His 
father and grandfather lived in long Dyak houses, and 
what was good enough for them is good enough for him. 
Why should he worry himself about building better 
houses, or farming in some new and improved way ? 
He will not meddle with matters that are too high for 
him ; and yet, notwithstanding this calm and even exist- 
ence that he leads from childhood to the grave, those 
who are most interested in the Sea Dyak must feel that 
his life is not what it ought to be, that it shows few signs 
of progress, and is too stagnant to be healthy. 

They do not suppose him to be a " fortuitous aggrega- 


tion of atoms that will shortly be dispersed throughout 
space." They believe that there is something Divine in 
him holding those fleeting atoms together, and making 
them one, and that he is journeying through a world of 
tragic meaning to the significance of which he seems to 
be for ever blind. They long to see him brought under 
the elevating and purifying influence of Christianity. 

It may be asked : What are the Missions, Church of 
England and Roman Catholic, doing to elevate the Sea 
Dyak ? I believe they are doing the best they can, but 
there are many things to contend against. First, there 
is the natural inability of the Dyak to keep his attention 
fixed upon one subject for any length of time, and so it 
is difficult to prevent the conversation from drifting into 
some commonplace topic when one is talking about serious 
matters. Then, agaia, when are they to be taught ? 
They usually come home from their work late in the 
evening, and then they are tired, and take no interest in 
anything, being greatly in need of rest. It is at all times 
difficult to have a quiet conversation in a Dyak house. 
The common veranda is suitable for many things, but it 
is far too noisy to be convenient for teaching. They are 
often away from their homes for months, and the Mis- 
sionary, who generally has a large field to cover, finds he 
cannot visit many villages in his parish more than once 
n three months. How much of such teaching is likely 
to be remembered ? Of course, things are better where 
the Church and Mission House are. There regular 
services are held, and these the Sea Dyak has the oppor- 
tunity of attending. He can also come up to the Mission 
House and talk over matters with the Missionary in 
charge, or the Schoolmaster, or the Catechist. But the 
number of Mission Houses with resident Missionaries 


among the large and scattered population of Sea Dyaks 
in Sarawak is but small. 

The up-country Mission Schools, which the Government 
liberally support, admit boys at an early age, when they 
are most susceptible to the reception of new ideas. Here 
they are away from Dyak surroundings, and live with 
the Missionary and Schoolmaster. One naturally hopes 
that each of these boys returning to his family will be 
an example to them, leading them into the right way, 
and no doubt the old schoolboys have an influence for 
good, in more ways than one, on the homes to which they 
return. There are, indeed, among the Christian Sea 
Dyaks of Sarawak some striking examples of an intelli- 
gent reception of the truth, and of a faith which is a living 
personal force governing their lives. But, unhappily, 
these cases are few as compared with the bulk of the 
population, and the people live such an unsettled life 
that missionary effort, as it exists in Sarawak at the 
present time, can but touch a small proportion of them, 
and, unless greatly reinforced, cannot affect, to any very 
considerable extent, the future of the Sea Dyak. 

The Government, by maintaining discipline in the 
different districts, by punishing crime and regulating 
trade, is no doubt instilling into the mind of the people 
important principles of law and order, and it has sup- 
pressed the atrocious crimes of piracy and head-hunting. 
The importation of Hakka Chmese to show the Dyaks 
how paddy ought to be planted is an important move 
in the right direction, and will conduce to their pros- 
perity if only they can be persuaded to submit to instruc- 
tion. But the future of the Sea Dyak even as regards 
material well-being is somewhat doubtful. There are 
those who say that he is slowly, but none the less surely. 


improving, and that he will at no very distant time 
reach the stage of progress to which most of the Malays 
in the country have attained ; that his means of earning 
a livelihood then will not be confined to paddy-planting 
and occasionally working jungle produce, but that he 
will work sago, and also engage in fishing and boat- 
building on a large scale. Others, however, mutter dark 
things concerning the Sea Dyak's primitive methods of 
farming and his unwillingness to give them up, and they 
paint a dismal picture of villages crowded in the distant 
future by half-starved men and women, living on worn- 
out land which will not bear abundant crops, as in the 
old days, a weakly and sickly race, debilitated by insuffi- 
ciency of food. 

Whatever may be the ultimate fate of the Sea Dyak, 
that events will move on certain lines in the immediate 
future seems to be fairly probable. The Sea Dyak will 
go on living in the same kind of house as his ancestors 
had — much the same kind of life year after year. He 
will go on farming in his jiresent primitive way till the 
soil around is worn out ; then he will ask leave of the 
Government, as has been done in many cases lately, to 
remove to some new and uncultivated country, and to 
be allowed to cut down the jungle on the hills there. 
Enormous tracts of lowland jungle exist in the lower 
reaches of the rivers on whose banks the Sea Dj^aks live ; 
but though they are industrious enough to plant their 
paddy on swampy soil which was cleared of jungle 
generations ago, they do not seem to care to cut down 
lowland jungle and prepare such land for planting. No 
doubt the reason is that it is harder work, and that after 
the trees are felled, it is six or seven years before the roots 
have rotted, and the soil has settled, and the land is fit 


for planting paddy on. What the Sea Dyaks like is to 
be allowed to remove to some country with plenty of 
wooded hills. They prefer planting paddy on the hills 
to clearing the lowland jungle, and waiting till the 
swampy land is fit for planting. The old sequence of 
events will repeat itself. The new land, rich virgin soil 
at first, will, under his devastating hand, soon become 
exhausted and worn out. It does not take long to im- 
poverish land if no attempt is made to enrich it. 

That these melancholy forebodings may never be ful- 
filled must be the earnest wish of all who have in some 
way or other come into contact with the Sea Dyak — a 
warm-hearted, hospitable, cheery figure, satisfied with 
little, living in the present, with no thought of the future, 
quite content if he have food to eat and tobacco to smoke, 
and yet, for this very reason, because he is so satisfied 
with his lot, most unwilling to admit new ideas, seemingly 
for ever unconscious of the significance of his life, and 
ignorant of the infinite possibilities for good or evil 
which exist in him. 




Achax, a spoon-bait. 

Akal plandok, the cunning of the plandok or mouse -deer. 

Anggat, a term of endearment used in addressing a boy. 

Antu, a spirit ; the dead. 

Ari ni nuan ? " Prom whence are you (come) ?" A form of greeting. 

Attap, a leaf roof made from the leaves of the nipa palm. 


Baiya, goods put aside upon the owner's death and placed upon or 

within his grave. 
Banghong, a Dyak boat. 
Baru, a tree with fibrous bark. 
Batu, a stone. 

Batu bintang, star stone." 
Batu ilau, " stone of light." 

Batu krang jiranau, the petrified section of jiranau (Zingeberad ?). 
Batu krat ikan sembilan, the petrified section of the sembilan fish. 
Batu kudi, " stones of wrath." 
Batu lintar, thunderbolt. 
Batu nitar, thunderbolt. 

Bebaju besi, " wearing an iron coat." Name of a manang ceremony. 
Bebandong api, " displaying fire." Name of a manang ceremony. 
Bebayak, making a hayak or iguana. Name of a manang ceremony. 
Bebuiong raia, " making or acting the adjutant bird." Name of a 

m,anang ceremony. 
Begiling lantai, " rolled up in the flooring." Name of a manang 

Bekliti, opening. One of the ceremonies of initiation of a manang, or 

Belelang, to wander about ; to visit a far country. 
Benih, seed. 

Bepancha, " making a pancha, or swing." Name of a manang ceremony. 
Beremaung, " acting the tiger." Name of a manang ceremony. 
Berencha, " making an assault." Name of a manang ceremony. 






Berua, " swinging." Name of ca manang ceremony. 

Besi, iron. 

Besudi, " feeling or touching." One of the ceremonies of initiation of 

manang, or witch-doctor. 
Betanam pentik, " planting a pentik, or wooden representation of a 

man." Name of a mana?ig' ceremony. 
"^etepas, " sweeping." Name of a manang ceremony. 
Betiang garong, "making a post for souls." Name of a manang 

Betiti tendai, " walking on the tendai, or bar on which cotton is placed 

in weaving." Name of a manang ceremony. 
Betukup rarong, " to split open the cofifin." Name of a manang 

Bilian, iron-wood ; the only wood which the white ants do not attack. 
Bilik, a room. 

Bliong, a Dyak tool, which can be used both as an adze and an axe. 
Bubong, a cage. 


Chanang, a brass gong, smaller than the tawak. 

Dandong, a shawl ; a sarong, or long skirt. 

Duku, a chopper ; a sword. 

Durian, a fruit very much liked by the Dyaks. 


Embuas, name of an omen bird. 

Endun, a term of endearment appHed to girls. 

Engkratong, a musical instrument resembling a guitar. 

Engkrumong, a set of eight small brass gongs, each sounding a different 

note, arranged in a frame. 
Engkrurai, a musical instrument made of bamboo tubes fixed in a 

gourd. ^ 

Ensera, a fairy tale. ^ 
Ensuling, a flageolet. 


Galanggang, a game, not unlike prisoner's base, played by the Dyaks. 

Gawai Antu, the ' ' Spirit Feast ' ' ; feast in honour of the dead. 

Gawai Batu, the " Stone Feast," held before farming operations begin. 

Gawai Benih, the " Seed Feast," held just before sowing the seed. 

Gawai Burong, the " Bird Feast," held in honour of human heads 
taken in war. 

Gawai Gajah, the " Elephant Feast " ; the greatest of all feasts con- 
nected with head-himting. 

Gawai Ijok, the " Ijok Feast." The ijok is the gamuti palm from 
which a native drink {tuak) is obtained. This feast is connected 
with head-himting. 


Grawai Mandi Rumah, a feast given when a new house is built ; the 

house -warming. 
Gawai Nyimpan Padi, the " Feast of Storing the Paddy," held after 

the reaping and winnowing are over, when the paddy is ready to 

be stored. 
Grawai Pala, " the Head Feast." Another name for Gawai Burong. 
Grawai Tenyalang, " the Horn-bill Feast." Another name for Gawai 

Ginselan, a sacrifice in which some animal is slain and the blood used. 
Gusi, the name of an old jar of great value, and looked upon as sacred. 

Igat, a term of endearment applied to boys. 
Sang, a curiously carved sword. 

Ipoh, a tree (ArUiaris toxicaria) the sap of which is poisonous, and used 
to poison the darts of the blow-pipe. 

Jadi rumah ? " Is the house free from taboo ?" — i.e., May we walk up 
into the house ? The usual question asked before entering a 
Dyak house. 

Jala, a casting-net. 


Kabayah, a long jacket worn by Malay women. 

Kadjang, a covering made of the young leaves of the nipa palm, etc., 

sewn together with split cane. This is used as awnings for boats, 

or for the roof of temporary huts. 
Kain, a woman's petticoat. 
Kana, a fairy tale set to verse and sung. 
Eapu, lime. 
Easih ka imbok enda kasih ka manok, " To show kindness to the 

wild pigeon, but not to the domestic fowl " (Dyak proverb). 
Kati, IJ pounds. 
Katupong, an omen bird. 

Kini ka nuan ? " Where are you going ?" A form of greeting. 
Klambi, a sleeveless jacket ; a coat. 
Kutok, an omen bird. 


Labong, a headkerchief. 

Langan waves in tidal rivers which are caused at flood-tide by the 
strong current rushing over the shallows. 

Lantai, bamboo, or palms, etc., split into laths, and tied together for 
the llooring of a house, or to sit upon in boats. 

Lari ka ribut nemu ujan, lari ka sungkup nemu pendam, " Running 
from the hurricane, he encounters the rain ; running from a tomb- 
stone, he finds himself in a graveyard " (Dyak proverb). 


Lesong, a wooden mortar used for pounding rice, etc. 

Limban, the Dyak Styx ; the river in Hades. 

Lobon-lobon, the words shouted by those watching a diving ordeal. 

The meaning is uncertain. 
Lumpang, a piece of bamboo in which rice has been cooked ; used 

at the feast for the dead as a boat to fetch the spirits from Hades. 
Lunas, the keel of a boat. 
Lupong, a Dyak medicine -chest. 


Maias, the orang-utan {Simla salyrus). 

Makai di ruai, literally " eating in the pubhc hall of a Dyak house." 

Name of a social feast. 
Makai rami, literally "eating joyfully in large numbers." Name of 

a social feast. 
Mali, forbidden ; tabooed. 
Manang, a witch-doctor. 
Manang bali, a witch-doctor who has changed his sex and become a 

Manang bangun, a witch-doctor who has been " waved upon " — i.e., 

who has been through the " waving upon " ceremony. 
Manang enjun, a witch-doctor who has been " trodden upon " — i.e., 

who has been through the " trodden upon " ceremony. 
Manang mansau, literally " a ripe manang " — i.e, one who is a 

fully qualified manang. 
Manang matak, literally " an unripe manang " — i.e., one who has 

not been fully initiated into the mysteries of the manang'' s 

Manjong, to shout all together. 
Mencha, the Sword Dance. 
Mlah pinang, literally " to spUt the betel-nut." To perform the 

marriage ceremony by sphtting the betel-nut. 


Naga, a dragon. A valuable old jar with the figure of a dragon on it. 
Nampok, to spend the night at a solitary place in order to obtain some 

charms from the spirits. 
Nemuai ka Sabayan, " making a journey to Hades." Name of a 

manang ceremony. 
Nendak, an omen bird. 

Ngelembayan, " taking a long sight." Name of a manaw^ 'ceremony. 
Nibong, a thorny palm (Oncosperm,a tigillaria). 
Nipa, a palm wtuch grows by the sea and at the mouths of rivers (Nipa 


Orang-utan, the maias {Simla satyrus). 



Padi, rice in the husk. 

Pagar api, literally " a fence of fire." A spear fixed blade upwards, 

with leaves tied to it, round which the manangs walk when taking 

part in their ceremonies. 
Pana, an offering of food given to the dead by the friends of those who 

are in mourning. 
Pandong, a kind of altar erected in different parts of the veranda of 

the Dyak house during the Bird Feast. 
Papau, an omen bird. 
Para piring, the altar of sacrifice. 
Pelampong, a wooden float, generally cut in the form of a duck, to 

which baited hooks are fastened. 
Pelandai, a love -song. 

Pelian, a manang ceremony to restore the health of a sick person. 
Pendam, a burial-ground. 
Pendok, a tree with fibrous bark. 
Pengap, an incantation. 
Pengaroh, a charm. 
Petara, gods. 

Peti, a spring trap set to kill wild pig. 

Pinang, the betel-nut ; the areca-nut. 

Piring, an offering of food. 

Plandok, the mouse -deer. 

Puni, a pecuhar Dyak superstition that, if food is offered to a man and 
he goes away without at least touching it, some misfortune is 
sure to befall him. It is said that he is sure to be attacked by a 
crocodile, or bitten by a snake, or suffer from the attack of some 
other animal. 


Rawai, a Dyak woman's corset, mada of tLay brass rings strung close 

together on hoops of cane. 
Rarong, a coffin. 
Remaung di rumah rawong di tanah, " A tiger in the house, but a frog 

in the field " (Dyak proverb). 
Rotan, cane ; rattan. 

Ruai, the public veranda of a Dyak house. 
Rusa, a deer. A valuable old jar with the figure of a deer on it. 


Sabayan, Hades. 

Sadau, the loft of a Dyak house. 

Sakit Rajah, " the disease caused by the King (of evil spirits) " — 

Sarong, a long petticoat worn by Malay men and women. 
Saut, the name of a manang ceremony. 
Serumai, a one -stringed fiddle. 
Sirat, a waist-cloth ; the usual male attire of the Dyak. 


Sireh, a vine of the pepper tribe ; its leaves are chewed with lime, 

gambier, and betel-nut. 
Sumping, a Dyak observance held after the death of relatives. 
Sumpit, a blow-pipe. 


Tabak, a brass dish. 

Tajau, a valuable jar. 

Tanju, the uncovered veranda of a Dyak house, where paddy and 

other things are put out to dry in the sun. 
Tawak, a large brass gong. 

Tendai, the bar on which cotton is placed in weaving. 
Tenyalang, the rhinoceros hornbill {Buceros rhinoceros). 
Tikai buret, a seat-mat. 

Timam?, to sing to in a monotonous manner. 
Tuai rumah, the headman or chief of a Dyak house. 
Tuak, native spirit. 
Tuan, gentleman ; master ; sir. The term of respect usually applied 

to Englishmen. 
Tuba, the name applied to a poison from the root of a shrub {Derris 

alleptica), or of a creeper. The poisonous bark of a tree. There 

are several kinds of tuba used for i2t6a- fishing. 
Tugong bula, " the Uar's mound." A pile of branches and twigs heaped 

up in memory of a man who has told a great lie. 


Ulit, mourning. 




Abroad, the Dyak, 333 

Achar, 54 

Adultery, 69, 132 

Affection, domestic, 70 

Ah Choy, 241, 248 

Ah Took Cheyne, 249 

A] at, 222 

Amusements, sports and, 220 

Apai Saloi, 254 

Armadillo, 153 

Articles buried with the dead 

Attap, 42, 150 

Augury, 161 

Axe, Dyak, 50, 51 


Bad times, 326 
Bailey, D. J. S., 184 
Baiya, 138 
Basket-making, 53 
Bat, 153 
Batu hintang, 188 

ilau, 165, 166, 190 
kraiig jiranau, 189 
krat ikan sttnbilau, 188 
kudi, 205 
lintar, 189 
nitar, 189 
Beards, 39 
Bebaju best, 171 
Bebandong api, 171 
Bebayak, 170 
Beburong rata, 171 
Bedungai, 225 
Begiling lantai, 171 
Bejampong, 153 
Bejit-Manai, 300 
Bekliti, 178 
Bdang-Pinggang, 300 
Bepancha, 170 
Bepantap Buyu, 172 



Beragai, 152 
Beremaung, 171 
Berenchah, 169 
Bermong, 226 
Besudi, 178 
Betanam pentik, 169 
Betel-nut, 151 
Betepas, 169 
Betiang garong, 170 
£eij;Yi tendai, 171 
Bilian trees, 151, 211 
Blikan, 231 
Bliong, 50, 51 
Blood, a drop of, 159 
Blood-letting, 183 
Blow-pij)e, 34, 78, 279 
Boat-building, 49 
Boat songs, 225 

swamped, 247 

travelling, 145 

war, 79 
Bore, tidal, 146 
Bomean jungles, 21 
Boys, Dyak, 103, 105, 107 
Brooke, Sir James, 21, 24 

Rajah, 26 
Brooke, Sir Charles, 29 

Rajah, 29 
Bui Nasi, 300 
Bukitans, 34 
Bunja Jawa, 300 
Bunsu Burong, 286 

Katupong, 286 
Burial-ground, 136 
Burial rites, 133 
Buyu, 172 

Camphor-tree, 151, 238 
Camphor-working, 238 
Cane ladders, 237 
Captain Keppel, 27 



Captives, 94 

Caves, edible birds'-nest, 236 

Ceremonies, 243 

manang, 166, 169 
Chambers, Bishop, 116, 118 
Chanang, 230 
Change of name, 103 
Character, the Dyak, 61, 327 
Childbirth and children, 96 
Child-naming, 102 
Children, kindness to, 62 
Christian Dyak chiefs, 84 

Mission, introduction of, 28 
Circumcision, 322 
Cock-fighting, 210, 223 
Cocoanut palm, 151 
Coffin, 136 

Collecting edible birds'-nests, 236 
Contents of a Dyak medicine-chest, 

Cooking, 87, 241 
Courtship, 120 
Couvade, 96 
Crocodile, 149 

-catching, 56 
Customs, some curious, 316 


Dance, sword, 221, 229 

war, 222, 229 
Dancing women, 84 
Danjai and the Were-Tiger's sister, 

Darts, poisoned, 79 
Dasu, Dr., 185 
Debt, slaves for, 95 
Debts, 95 
Decapitation, 83 
Deer, 153 
Depilation, 39 

" Dictionary of the Sea Dyak Lan- 
guage," 184 
Dido, H.M.S., 27 
Dispute in Krian, 319 
Diving ordeal, 316 
Divorce, 69 
Domestic affection, 70 
Dreams, 161 

omens and, 152 
Dress, men's, 36, 78 

war, 78 

women's, 37 
Drinking, 212 
Drums. 229 

Durian, 151, 319 
"Dyak," the word, 33 

charms and native remedies, 

chiefs. Christian, 84 
marriage of, 73 

feasts, 209 

folklore, 252 

headman or chief, rule of, 88 

medicine-chest, contents of, 184 

religion, 194 

trial, 89 

village house, 42, 184 

wealth, 90 
Dyaks, the, 33 


Ebony-tree, 151 

Education, 105 

Embuas, 153 

Emplawa Jawa, 293 

Engkratonq, 231 

Engkrumoni, 230 

Engkrurai, 230 

Ensera, 252 

Ensuling, 231 

Expedition, head-hunting, 75 

Experiences, some personal, 240 


Fables, 252 

Failures, 326 

Families, smallness of, 104 

Farming, rice, 325 

Father-in-law, 125 

Feast the bird, 210 

in uonour of the dead, 142, 21 6 
Feasts connected with farming, 215 
head-taking, 210 

Dyak, 209 

social, 219 
Feeding the dead, 135 
Fines, 89 
Fireplace, 44 
Fishing, 54 

tuba, 55 
Fish-traps, 297 
Folklore, Dyak, 252 
Food, 87 
Football, 221 
Forests, tropical, 21 
Form of greeting, 323 
Frugality, 63 
Fruit-trees, 94 



Future existence, belief in, 133, 143, 
of the Sea Dyak in Sarawak, 
the, 324 

Oalangqanq, 224 
Games, 220 
Gawai Antu, 142 

Batu, 215 

Benih, 215 

Gajah. 215 

Ijok, 214 

Mandi JRumah, 219 

Nyimpan Padi, 216, 

Pnla, 210 

Tenyalang, 210 
Ginsrlaii, 203 
Girnnsi, 199 
Girls, Dyak, 103 

God of the earth : Pidang (^lana, and 
how he came to be worshipped as 
the, 300 
Gods, 195 

Gomes, B.D., the Rev. W. H., 29 
Gongs, 229 

Grades of manan^jS, 178 
Graves, 136, 138 
Greeting, form of, 323 
Gusi, 91 

Gutta-trees, 151 
Gutta-working, 235 

Habitations of spirits, 210 
Head-hunting, 23, 72 

expedition, 75 

legend of, 73 
Head-taking, feasts connected with, 

Headman, 265 

power of, 90 

rule of, 88 
Heroes, mythical, 253 
Honesty, 63 
Honey-bear, 149 
Hombill, 211 
Hose, D.D., Bishop, 98 
Hospitality, 67 
House-building, 47 
House, Dyak village, 42 
Howell, Rev. W., 184 
Human heads, 213 

necessary for wedding 
feast, 266 
Hunting, 53, 296 

Incantations, 195, 213, 226, 229 
Infanticide, 100 
Initiation of manangs, 178 
Introduction of Christian missions, 

Invisible spirits, 227 
Invocations, 195, 213, 226, 228 

Jcda, 54 
Jars, old, 45, 90 
Jumping, 224 
Jungle, Bornean, 149 

lost in the, 249 
Jungle-path, 148 

Kahayah, 35 
Kabong, 249 

Kadjanqs, 50, 146, 148, 150 
Kana, 226, 252, 253 
Katupong, 152 
Kayans, 34 

Keppel, Captain, afterwards Ad- 
miral, 27 
Kinyehs, 34 
Klie7jg, 253 
Krian, dispute in, 319 

Mission, 119 
Kumcmq, 253 
Kunsil Negri, 30 
Kutok, 153 

Langan, 146 

Legend of head-hunting, 73 

Legends, 252 

three Dyak, 264 
Leprosy, 322 
Life beyond the grave, 133, 143 

of the Dyak, 324 
Limhan, 229 
Lizard, 153 
Lobon lohon, 318 
Love-song, 225 
Lumpa7ig, 216 
Lupong, 165, 187 


Madness, 322 
Maias, 74, 149 
Mali, 197 



Manang, or witch-doctor, the, 163 

ceremonies, 166, 169 
Manangs, 99, 182, 227 

not buried, 143 
Marriage, 120 

- Dyak view of, 128 
Mat-making, 52 
Meals, Dyak, 87 
Medicine-chest, Dyak, 165 

the contents of a Dyak 184 
Mencha, 221 

Mesney, the Rev. W. R., 116 
Metamorphosis, 287 
Milanaus, 33 

Missionary, the itinerant, 240 
Missions among the Dyaks, 328 

introduction of Christian, 28 
Mission schools, 329 
Mlah pinang, 124 
Morals, Dyak, 68, 121 
Mother-in-law, 125, 131 
Mouse-deer and other animals who 
went out fishing, the story of the, 
Mouse-deer, the deer, and the pi<r, 
the story of the, 259 °' 

Mourning, 139, 285 
putting off, 217 
song of, 228 
Muruts, 34 
Music, song and, 225 
Musical instruments, 222, 229 
Mythical heroes, 253 
Mythology, Dyak, 264 

Naga, 91 

Name, change of, 103 
Naming the child, 102 
Native remedies and Dyak charms, 

Nemuai Ka Selayan, 170 
Nendak, 153 
Nets, 54 
Ngelai, 253 
Ngelembayan, 170 
Nibong palm, 150 
Nipa palm, 150 
North-east monsoon, 247 


Oars, 145 
Offertory, 245 

Omen birds, 47, 152, 234, 238, 298 
animals, 153 

Omens and dreams, 152 

of birds, the story of Siu, who 
first taught the Dyaks to 
plant paddy and to observe 
the, 278 
Orang-Vtan, 74, 149 
Ordeal, diving, 316 
trial by, 316 

Paddles, 50, 79, 145 
Paddy, 278 

planting, 297, 325 
Paqar Apt, 166, 168, 174 
Palms, 150 
Pana, 139, 141 
Pandong, 213 
Papau, 153 

Past, a picture from the, 22 
Pdandai, 225 
Pdian, 164, 168, 169 
Pendam, 136 

Pengap, 195, 213, 228, 326 
Perham, the Rev. J., 119 
Personal experiences, some, 240 
Petara, 194, 197 
Pinang, 282 

Mlah, 124 
Pirates, 23 
Piring, 202 

Planting paddy, 297, 325 
Prayer-houses, 244 
Preparations for diving ordeals, 317 

for ftasts, 210 
Proverbs, Dyak, 261 
Pulang Gana, 137 

how he came to be wor- 
shipped as the god of the 
earth, 300 
Punans, 34 
Puni, 320 
Python, 149, 153 

Questions, 243 



Rajah Brooke, 26, 29 
Muda Hassi'tn, 25 
Shu a, 305 

Rapids, 147 

Rat, 153 

Religion, Dyak, 194 



R-^tan. 151. 235 

Royalist, the yacht, 25 

Rule of the Dyak headman or 

chief, 88 
Rusa, 91 

Sahah, 142 
Sabayan, 228 
Sacrifices, 202 
Sago palm, 151 
Salampandri, 174, 197, 228 
Sampun, 247 
Sand-banks, Hf5 
Saribas Mission, 119 
Sarong, 35 
Saut, 173 
Schoolboy reminiscences, 119, 175, 

School in the jimgle, my, 105 

programme, 108 
Sea Dyak in Sarawak, the future of 

the, 324 
Seragunting, 278, 290 
Sereqendah, 306 
Sent, 34 
Serunai, 231 
Services, 244, 245 
S'lva, Rajah, 305 
Siw/alang Burong, 160, 196, 227, 

Singapore, 233 
Singing, 225 
SireJi, 282 

Siu, the story of, 278 
Slavery, 94 
Slaves, adoption of, 95 

for debt, 95 
Smallness of families, 104 
Smallpox, 191 
Social life, 86 

position of the women, 86 
Some curious customs, 316 

personal experiences, 240 
Song and music, 225 

of mourning, 140, 228 

of the head feast, 213 

the wailers', 140, 228 
Songs, 229 
Soul, the, 177 
Spears, fishing, 55 
Spinning-tops, 223 
Spirit of the Winds, 228 
Spirits, 183, 189, 227, 242 
Sports and amusements, 220 
Stones of wrath, 205 
Stoi'ies, Sra Dyak, 252 

Story of Buda, 114 

Story of the mouse-deer and other 

animals who went out fishing, 

the, 255 
Story of the mouse-deer, the deer, 

and the pig, the, 259 
Story of Siu, who first taught the 

Dyaks to plant paddy and to 

observe the omens of birds, the, 

Snivj)inrf, 141 

Sunipit, or blow-pipe, 34, 78, 279 
Superstitions of the Dyaks, 242 
Swallows, 236 
Swimming, 223 

Tajau, 91 

Tattooing, 37 

Tawnh, 229 

Teaching the Dyaks, 242 

Teeth, 38 

Temudok, 247 

Tenyalang, 211 

Tidal bore, 146 

Time, 322 

Tops, spinning, 103, 295 

Toys, 103 

Traps, 53 

Travel, love of, 233 

Travelling, 145, 247 

in Sarawak, 145 
Trial, a Dyak, 89 

by ordeal, 316 
Tropical forests, 21 
Truthfulness, 66 
Tuba, 56 

fishing, 56, 210 
Tugong hula, 67 
Tujoh, catechist, 113 


Vkits, 34 
Ulit, 139 
Unselfishness, 70 

Village house, Dyak, 42 

Visit to a Dyak house, 240, 246 


Wailers, professional. 140, 218. 228 
Wnilers' song, 140 



War boat, 79, 266 
War costume, 78 

council, 76, 81 

songs, 225 

spear, 76 
Warfare, Dyak, 72, 297 
Wealth, Dyak, 90 
Weaving, 52 
Wedding, Dyak, 122 

Were-Tiger, 267 

Were-Tiger's sister, Danjai and the, 

Winds, Spirit of the, 228, 229 
Women, social position of, 86 
Women's work, 46, 51, 62 
Work, men's, 46, 325 

women's, 46, 62, 324 
Wrestling, 224, 295 



A Catalogue of Books for Young 
People, Published by . . . 
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38 Great Russell Street, London 

Some of the Coittents 

Adventure, The Library of 

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Giberne, Books by Miss 

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Marshall, Stories by Mrs. 

Missionary Biographies 

Olive Library, The 

Pink Library, The 

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Science for Children 

Sunday Echoes . 

Wonder Library, The 












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CHURCH, Professor ALFRED J. 

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Adventures on the Great Rivers. By Richard Stead. 
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Stories of Polar Adventure. By H. W. G. Hyrst. 
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stories of Elizabethan Heroes. By the Rev. E. Gilliat. 
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The Romance of Piracy. By E. Keble Chatterton, B.A. 

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The Romance of Modern Chemistry. By J. C. Philip, 

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The Romance of Modern Manufacture. By C, R. 

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The Romance of Early British Life. From the Earliest 

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B.Sc. With 30 Illustrations. 

The Romance of Modern Geology. By E. S. Grew, 

M.A. (Oxon.). 

The Romance of Bird Life. By John Lea, M.A. 

The Romance of Modern Photography. Its Discovery 

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The Romance of Modern Sieges- By the Rev, E. 

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The Romance of Savage Life. By Professor G. F. Scott 

Elliot, M.A., B.Sc, &~r. With 45 Illustrations. 

The Romance of the World's Fisheries. By Sidney 

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The Romance of Animal Arts 6^ Crafts. By H. Coupin, 

D.Sc, and J. Lea, M.A. With 24 Illustrations, 
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B.A., F.R.G.S. With 16 Illustrations. 
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The Romance of Missionary Heroism. By John C. 

Lambert, B.A., D.D, With 39 Illustrations. 
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The Romance of Plant Life. By Prof. G. F. Scott Elliot, 

B.A. (Cantab.), B.Sc. (Edin.). With 34 Illustrations. 
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The Romance of the Animal World. By Edmund Selous. 

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" A mine of information and stirring incident." — Scotsman. 

The Romance of Modern Invention. By A. Williams. 

Revised Edition. 
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crown 8vo, cloth, gilt. With Eight original Illustrations by H. M. 
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The Pilgrim's Progress. 
The Wide, Wide World. 
Uncle Tom's Cabin. 
Ben Hur. Gen. Lew Wallace. 
Westward Ho ! Kingsley. 
John Halifax. By Mrs. Craik. 
Robinson Crusoe. Defoe. 
Little Women and Good Wives. 
The H istory of H enry Esmond. 
By W. M. Thackeray. 
The Swiss Family Robinson. 
Grimm's Fairy Tales. 
Poe's Tales of Mystery and 
Don Quixote. By Cervantes. 
Gulliver's Travels. Swift. 
The Days of Bruce. 

Tom Brown's Schooldays. 
Tales from Shakespeare. Lamb. 
Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales. 
The Arabian Nights' Entertain- 
The Scalp Hunters. By Captain 
Mayne Reid. 
Ministering Children. 
Ministering Children. A Sequel. 
The Dog Crusoe. Ballantyne, 
Masterman Ready. Marryat. 
What Katy did at Home and at 
School. By Susan Coolidge. 
The Old Gateway. E. Marshall. 
Millicent Legh. E. Marshall. 
Vicar of Wakefield. 


Our Good Slave Electricity. By Charles R. Gibson, F.R.S.E. 

With many Illustrations. Extra crown 8vo, 3s. 6d. 

The Great Ball on which we Live. By Charles R. Gibson, 

F.R.S.E. With) Coloured Frontispiece and many other Illustrations. 

lixtra crown Svo, 35. 6d. 

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The Romance of Polar Exploration. Illustrated 

Extra crown 8vo, 5*, 
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This Great Globe. First Lessons in Geography. is. 6d. 


The World before the Flood. Stories from the Best Book. 
With Illustrations by G. P. Jacomb Hood. Crown 8vo, is. and is. 6d. 


The Romance of the Animal World. Illustrated. Ex. 

crown 8vo, 53, 
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The Romance of Insect Life. Illustrated. Ex. cr. 8vo, 5s. 

" Mr. Selous, the well-known naturalist, writes in purely informal style."— 

The Globe. 


Fresh from the Fens. With Illustrations. Cr. 8vo, 3s. 6d. 


To Mars via the Moon. An Astronomical Story. With 

Eight Illustrations. Extra crown 8vo, 5s. 


Agathos. With Illustrations. Fcap. 8vo, sewed, 6d. ; cloth, is. 

AgathoS, The Rocky Island, and other Sunday Stories. 

With Sixteen Illustrations. Extra crcwn 8vo, is. 6d., 2s. 6d. 

The Rocky Island and other Similitudes. With Illus- 
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Adrift in a Great City. Illus- 
trated. Crown 8vo, 5s. 
A City Violet. Crown 8vo, 5s. 
The Cabin on the Beach. 
Illustrated. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d. 
A Nest of Skylarks. 53. 

A Nest of Sparrows. Crown 

8vo, 5s. 

A Wayside Snowdrop. Crown 

8vo, 2s. 6d. 

Chirps for the Chicks, zs. 6d, 

The Romance of Early Exploration. Illustrated. 5s. 

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The Romance of Modern Exploration. Illustrated. 5s. 

" A mine of information and stirring incident." — SroTSmAN. 

The Romance of Modern Mechanism. Illustrated. 5s. 

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The Romance of Modern Invention. With 24 Illustrations. 

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The Romance of Modern Engineering. Illustrated 

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The Romance of Modern Locomotion. Illustrated. 

"Crisply written and brimful of incident." — Glasgow Herald. 

The Romance of Modern Mining. With 24 Illustrations. 

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The Wonders of Modern Engineering. Ex. crown 8vo, 2s. 

The Last of the White Coats. A Story of Cavaliers and 
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With Eight Illustrations. Extra crown 8vo. Price 2S. 

The Wonders of Modern Manufacture. By C. R. 

Gibson, F.R.S.E. 

The Wonders of Savage Life. By Professor G. F. Scott 

Eluot, M.A., B.Sc. 

The Wonders of Astronomy. By Hector Macpherson, 

Junr., M.A. 

The Wonders of Invention. By A. Williams, B.A. 

Revised and brought up to date by T. W. Corbin. 

The Wonders of Modern Chemistry. By James C. 

Philip, D.Sc. 
The Wonders of Electricity. By Charles R. Gibson, 


The Wonders of Animal Ingenuity. By H. Coupin, D.Sc, 

and JouN Lea, M.A. 

The Wonders of Mechanical Ingenuity. By Archibald 

Williams, B.A., F.R.G.S. 

The Wonders of Asiatic Exploration. By Archibald 

Williams, B.A., F.R.G.S, 

The Wonders of the Plant World. By G. F. Scott 

Elliot, M.A., B.Sc, F.L.S., <5r»c. 

The Wonders of Modern Railways. By Archibald 

WiLLLVMs, B.A., F.R.G.S. 

The Wonders of the Insect World. By E. Selous. 
The Wonders of Modern Engineering. By Archibald 

Williams, B.A. (Oxon.) 

The Wonders of Bird Life. By John Lea, M.A. 


The Romance of the World's Fisheries. With many 

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Adventures among Trappers and Hunters. With Sixteen 

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A Catalogue of Books on Art 
History, and General Literature 
Published by Seeley, Service ^ Co 
Ltd. 38 Great Russell St. London 

Some of the Contents 

Crown Library, The . 

Elzevir Library, The . 

Events of Our Own Times Series 

Illuminated Series, The 

Miniature Library of Devotion, The 

Miniature Portfolio Monographs, The 

Missions, The Library of . 

New Art Library, The 

Portfolio Monographs 

Science of To-Day Series, The . 

Seeley 's Illustrated Pocket Library 

Seeley 's Standard Library . 

Story Series, The 

" Things Seen " Series, The 







1 1 
1 1 





The Publishers will be pleased to post their complete Catalogue 

or their Illustrated Miniature Catalogue on receipt 

of a post-card 


Arranged alphabetically under the names of 
Authors and Series 

ABBOTT, Rev. E. A., D.D. 

How to Parse, An English Grammar. Fcap. 8yo, 3s. 6d. 

How to Tell the Parts of Speech. An Introduction to English 

Grammar. Fcap. 8vo, as. 

How to Write Clearly. Rulesand Exercises on English Composition. is.6d. 

Latin Gate, The. A First Latin Translation Book. Crown Svo, 3s. 6d. 

Via Latina. A First Latin Grammar. Crown Svo, 3s. 6d. 
ABBOTT, Rev. E. A., and Sir J. R. SEELEY. 

English Lessons for English People. Crown Svo, 4s. 6d. 

ADY, Mrs. See Cartwright, Julia. 


Of the Imitation of Christ. With Illuminated Frontispiece and Title 

Page, and Illuminated Sub-Titles to each book. In white or blue cloth, with inset minia- 
tures. Gilt top ; crown Svo, 6s. nctt ; also bound in same manner in real classic vellum. 
Each copy in a box, los. 6d. nett ; Antique leather with clasps, los. 6d. nett. 

" It may well be questioned whether the great work of Thomas a Kempi,s has 
ever been presented to better advantage." — Tke Guardian. 


Japanese Wood Engravings. Coloured Illustrations. Super-royal Svo, 

sewed, 2s. 6d. nett ; half-linen, 3s. 6d. nett; also small 410, cloth, as. nett ; lambskin, 3s. nett. 


The Art of Velazquez. Illustrated. Super-royal Svo, 3s. 6d. nett. 
The Life of Velazquez. Illustrated. Super-royal Svo, 3s. 6d. nett. 
Velazquez. A Study of his Life and Art. With Eight Copper Plates and 
many minor Illustrations. Super-royal Svo, cloth, 9s. nett. 

Thomas Gainsborough. Illustrated. Super-royal Svo, half-linen, 3s. 6d. 

nett. Also new edition small 410, cloth, 2s. nett ; leather, 3s. nett and 5s. nett. 

The Peel Collection and the Dutch School of Painting With Illustra- 
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W. Q. Orchardson. Super-royal Svo, sewed, 2s. 6d. ; half-linen, 3s. 6d. nett. 


Confessions of S. Augustine. With Illuminated pages. In white or 

blue cloth, gill top, crown Evo, 6s. nett ; also in vellum, los. 6d. nett. 


The Passing of the Turkish Empire in Europe. With Thirty-two 

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Family Names and their Story. Demy Svo, 7s. 6d. nett. 5s. nett. 

BEDFORD, Rev. W. K. R. 

Malta and the Knights Hospitallers. Super-royal Svo, sewed, 2s. 6d. 

nett ; half-linen, 3s. fid. n«tt. 

BENHAM, Rev. Canon D. D., F.S.A. 

The Tower of London. With Four Plates in Colours and many other 

Illustrations. Super-royal Svo, sewed, 5s. nett; cloth, 7s. nett. 

Mediasval London. With a Frontispiece in Photogravure, Four Plates 

in Colour, and many other Illustrations. Super-royal 8vo, sewed, 55. nett ; cloth, gilt 

top, 7s. nett. Also extra crown Svo, 3s. 6d. nett. 
Old St. Paul's Cathedral. With a Frontispiece in Photogravure, Four 
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or cloth, gilt top, 7s. nett. 


The Post Office and its Story. An interesting account of the activities 
ofa great Government departnent. With Twenty-five Illustrations. Ex. cm. Svo, 5s. nett. 


Family Prayers for Six Weeks. Crown Svo, 3s. 6d. 
A Companion to the Holy Communion. 32mo, cloth, is. 

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Dutch Etchers of the Seventeenth Century. Illustrated. Super-royal 

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John Crome and John Sell Cotman. Illustrated. Super- royal 8vo, 

sewed, 3s. 6d. nett. 


London on Thames in Bygone Days. With Four Plates printed in 

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An Exposition of Psalm CXIX. Crown 8vo, 5s. 


Things Seen in Egypt. With Fifty Illustrations. Small 4to, cloth, 
2S. nett ; lambskin, 3s. nett ; velvet leather, in box, ss. nett. 


XXVI Present- Day Papers on Prophecy. An explanation of the visions 

of Daniel and of the Revelation, on the continuous historic system. With Maps and 

Diagrams. 700 pp. 6s. nett. 


Jules Bastien-Lepage. Super-royal 8vo, sewed, 2s. 6d. ; cloth, 3s. 6d. nett. 

Sacharissa. Some Account of Dorothy Sidney, Countess of Sunderland, 
her Family and Friends. With Five Portraits. Demy 8vo, 7s. 6d. 
Raphael in Rome. Illustrated. Super-royal 8vo, sewed, 2s. 6d. ; half- 
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The Early Work of Raphael. Illustrated. Saper-royal 8vo, sewed 

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Raphael : A Study of his Life and Work. With Eight Copper Plates and 
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The Liberation of Italy. With Portraits on Copper. Crown 8vo, 5s. 


Fore and Aft. The Story of the Fore and Aft Rig from the Earliest Times 
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Through Holland in the " Vivette." The Cruise of a 4-Tonner from the 

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Things Seen in China. With Fifty Illustrations. Cloth, 2s. nett; 

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Compiled and Edited by J. W. Elliott, Organist and Choirmaster of St. Mark's, 
Hamilton Terrace, London. With some Practical Counsels taken by permission from 
" Notes on the Church Service," by Bishop Walsham How. 

A. Royal 8vo, sewed, is. ; cloth, is. 6d. 

B. i6mo, sewed, 6d. ; cloth, 8d. 

The following portions viay be had separately : — 

The Ferial and Festal Responses and the Litany. Arranged by 

J. W. Elliott. Sewed, 4d. 

The Communion Service, Kyrie, Credo, Sanctus, and Gloria in 

Excelsis. Set to Music by Dr. J. Naylor, Organist of York Minster. Sewed, 4d. 


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Josiah Wedgwood, Master Potter. With many Illustrations. Super- 
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The Chemistry of Paints and Painting. Third Edition. Crown 8vo, 6s. 
CHURCH, Rev. A. J. 

Nicias, and the Sicilian Expedition. Crown 8vo, is. 6d. 

For other books by Professor Church see Complete Catalogue. 

CLARK, J. W., M.A. 

Cambridge. With a coloured Frontispiece and many other Illustrations 

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cloth, 2S. nett; leather, 3s. ; special leather, in box, 5s. nett. 

CODY, Rev. H. A. 

An Apostle of the North. The Biography of the late Bishop Bompas, 
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Engineering of To-day, With Seventy-three Illustrations and Diagrams. 

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Mechanical Inventions of To-Day. Ex. crown Svo ; with Ninety-four 

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Animals of To-day : Their Life and Conversation. With Illustrations 

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The Isle of Wight. Illustrated. Super-royal Svo, sewed, 2s. 6d. nett ; 

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Life at the Zoo. Notes and Traditions of the Regent's Park Gardens. 

Illustrated from Photographs by Gambier Bolton. Fifth Edition. Crown Svo, 6s. 

The Naturalist on the Thames. Many Illustrations. Demy Svo, 7s. 6d. 
The New Forest. Super-royal Svo, sewed, 2s. 6d. nett ; half-linen, 3s. 6d, 
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The New Forest and the Isle of Wight. With Eight Plates and 

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Nights with an Old Gunner, and other Studies of Wild Life. With 
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A series of notable copyright books issued in uniform binding. 
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Fighting the Slave Hunters in Central Africa. A Record of Twenty- 
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An Unknown People in an Unknown Land. An Account of the Life 

and Customs of the Lengua Indians of the Paraguayan Chaco, with Adventures and 

Experiences met with during Twenty Years' Pioneering and Exploration amongst them. 

With Twenty-four Illustrations and a Map. Extra crown Svo, 5s. nett. 

FRASER, Sir A. H. L., K.C.S.I., M.A., LL.D., Litt.D., ex- Lieutenant- 
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Among Indian Rajahs and Ryots. A Civil Servants' Recollections and 

Impressions of Thirty -seven Years of Work and Sport in the Central Provinces and Bengal. 

Third Edition, 5s. nett. 


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CODY, Rev. H. A. 

An Apostle of the North. The Story of Bishop Bompas's Life amongst 
the Red Indians &^ Eskimo. Tliird Edition, 5s. nett. 

PENNELL, T. L., M.D., B.Sc. 

Among the Wild Tribes of the Afghan Frontier. A Record of Sixteen 

Years' close intercourse with the natives of Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier. 
Introduction by Earl Roberts. Extr» crown 8vo. Twenty-six Illustrations and Map. 

Fifth Edition, 5s. net. 


The Engravings of Albert Diirer. Illustrated. Super-royal 8vo, half- 
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Paintings and Drawings of Albert Durer, Illustrated. Super-royal 

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Albrecht Diirer. A Study of his Life and Work. With Eight Copper 

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Royal English Bookbindings. With Coloured Plates and many other 
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English Society of the Eighteenth Century in Contemporary Art. 

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DAWSON, Rev. E. C. 

The Life of Bishop Hanningfton. Crown 8vo, paper boards, 2s. 6d. ; 

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The Renaissance of Sculpture in Belgium. Illustrated. Super-royal 

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Astronomy of To-Day. A popular account in non-technical language. 
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Submarine Engineering of To- Day. Extra crown 8vo, 5s. nett. 


Through Jubaland to the Lorian Swamp. Forty-four Illustrations and 

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Volume VI. Vig:n»ttes of London Life from 
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from Thackeray. 
,, VIII. Vignettesof Country Life from 

„ IX. Wisdom (Sr* Humour of Carlyle. 
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Medical Science of To-Day, Ex. cm. 8vo ; 24 Illustrations, 5s. nett. 


Volume I. Fancy fi^ Humour of Lamb. 
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„ V. Insight fif" Imagination of John 

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1878-80. By Archibald Forbes. 

The Refoimding of the German 

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Countess Martinengo Cesaresco. 

Great Britain in Modern Africa. 

By Edgar Sanderson, M.A. 

The War in the Peninsula. By A. 

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Winning a Primitive People. Illustrated. Extra crown Svo, 5s. nett. 

Human Anatomy for Art Students. Profusely Illustrated with Photo- 
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The Childhood of Man. A Popular Account of the Lives and Thoughts 
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A Croatian Composer. Notes toward the Study of Joseph Haydn. 

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The Mount. Narrative of a Visit to the Site of a Gaulish City on Mount 

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The Story of the Hills. A Popular Account of Mountains and How 

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Greek Terracotta Statuettes. With a Preface by A. S. Murray, LL.D. 

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